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REMINISCENCES 

OF 

A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 




CopyrigVit. jonn, 

by Elliott 4 Fry. Ltd., Londo 



MRS. HUGH FRASER 



REMINISCENCES 

OF 

A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 



Further Reminiscences of a Diplomatist' s Wife 
in Many Lands 



^7X^n.(C^u^f:^ MRS. HUGH FRASER 

' AUTHOR OF "A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE IN JAPANv^ 

"A diplomatist's WIFE IN MANY LANDS," ETC. 

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 




NEW YORK 

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 

1912 



D' 



y'^r 



Copyright, igi2 
By Dodd, Mead and Company 

Published November, 191 2 



CI,A328475 



INTRODUCTION 

Since the following is a book of reminiscences, I think I am 
justified in opening it with one from a side of my life for which 
no place has been found either in this or the preceding volumes. 
Some years ago I was honored by an invitation to lecture before 
a certain distinguished Literary Society comprising among its 
members many old friends of my own. The pleasure I felt 
in being about to address these dear people on a subject rather 
close to their hearts caused me to forget the etiquette usually 
practised on such occasions. When the final notes of the over- 
ture died away, I skipped lightly up the steps to the stage; but a 
strong hand pulled me down, and the President's stern whisper 
sounded in my ear, " Hold on, hold on ! I must introduce 
you ! " 

Feeling very small, I shrank back among the palms and azaleas, 
while the kind President sounded my praises to the audience, in 
terms so far beyond my merits that when he drew me forth from 
my hiding place I was overcome with confusion. For a minute 
or two I could not find my voice, and I had something like an 
attack of stage-fright. But I had been introduced! 

It seems that this book must go through the same cere- 
mony. It came back to me from the Publishers with the curt 
intimation, "Introduction required." What shall I say of it? 
Only this, that it was asked for by the readers of its predecessors 
and that I hope they will be as kind to it as they were to them. 
Two years ago, with many tremors and hesitations, I sent the 
" Diplomatist's Wife in Many Lands " out into the world, trust- 
ing that its shortcomings would be forgiven for the sake of certain 



INTRODUCTION 

new and true things it had to tell. Its reception overwhelmed 
me. The generous appreciation of far greater writers than my- 
self, and the delighted sympathies of readers were conveyed to 
me by every mail, till my hermitage in the Rockies became 
peopled by a host of kindred spirits, loving what I loved, enjoy- 
ing what I enjoyed, and all asking for " more." 

If the " more " is somewhat less connected than the narrative 
in the former volumes, that is because many events and experi- 
ences in my life had to be omitted there for want of space. 
Such as they are, may the following pages give some pleasure to 
the readers who have crowned my other work with so much kind 
approval and heartened the writer's lonely way with so much 
encouragement. To that encouragement the present venture is 
due, and to their judgment I commit it, only begging that they 
will be " to its virtues very kind, to its faults a little blind." 

Mary Crawford Fraser. 

WiNTHROP, August 24, 19 I 2. 



VI 



CONTENTS 



I 

From the Odescalchi to Buckingham Palace . . 

A Roman Sunday — A Long-lost Uncle, and a Pearl — A Lover of Horace 
Sees Rome in a Day — Recollections of my Aunt Medora — Strawberries, 
Sunshine, and Songs — An Unmourned Mother-in-Law — Bath, the For- 
saken — The Mistake of a Great Physician — I Make My Curtsey to My 
Sovereign — "The First Turn at the Mill!" 

II 

In and Out of Bavaria 



Page 



25 



A Forgotten Picture in the House of Thought — A Premature Excursion 
and a Breach of Discipline — The First Fairy Story — Croatian Nurses — 
The Masked Lady — A Summer at Weissenbach — A Mad King and 
a Wise Regent — The Emperor and Count Andrassy — Haynau the 
Repressor. 

Ill 

Sovereigns, Treaties, and Traditions 49 

A House Divided against Itself — Croatia and Hungary — Wooden Soldiers 
and M. de Bonaparte's "youngster" — Archduke John and Tyrol — 
"The Old Colours Last the Best" — Hapsburg Eccentricities — An In- 
convenient Member of the Family and His Mysterious End — The Em- 
peror's Reception Day — The Story of Murat — A Headless Corpse — 
The Fall of Metternich — Traditions of Diplomacy — " Accidents Will 
Happen" — The Afterward of a Pitiful Tragedy. 

IV 
In Polish Prussia 81 

A Haunted Country and a Lonely Ride — In the Tracks of the Grand Army 
— The "Extra Post" — Unexpected! — Italy in Prussia — A Devout 
General — Church-going under Difficulties — A Ghostly Chair — The 
"Starost's" Boots — A Consolable Widower — The Last of the Old 
Guard — Polish Poets and the Polish Jeanne d'Arc — A Family of 
Exiles — Lord Palmerston's Prophecy — The Foe within the Gates. 



CONTENTS 

Tyrants, Soldiers, and Sailors 98 

Villa Sforza Cesarini and the Duke of My Day — An Obscure Victim — The 
Sforza Line — Lady Fraser and a Little Girl's Terrors of " Boney " in 
1804 — Sir John at Eton — Sir George Nugent — A Duel at Sea — A 
Scottish Grand Vizier — The Strange Case of Doctor Burns — Simon 
Fraser, the Brigadier — An Epidemic of Bogeys — Uncle Sam's Last 
Journey — General de Sonnaz — Admiral Caracciolo — Where Nelson 
Was not Great — The Dead Admiral Demands Christian Burial. 

VI 
Friends and Friendly Places 129 

The Cocumella, a Haven of Rest — Sorrento Sailors and Their Families — 
The Influence of the Religious Sodalities — Faith's Insurances — On the 
Crest of the Pass — The Road to Amalfi — Rival Ports — Salerno and 
the Crusaders — An Alarming Journey and a Considerate Villain — The 
De RaaslofF Family — My Friend Anna — A Bit out of the Bible of 
Youth — Anna in Thuringia — The Frau Hof-Pastorin's Convict 
Christmas Party — " Beata Lei!" 

VII 
North of the Alps 148 

A Danish Subaltern — The Schleswig-Holstein Riddle — De RaaslofF 
Settles the Elsinore Complication — The Pitiful Story of a Young Queen 

— Von Moltke's Boyhood — A Stern Tutor — Too Much Goat! — A 
Nameless Student and a Gruesome Parcel — Von Moltke's First Sight of 
the Prussian Army Decides His Fate — His Long Struggle with Poverty — 
His Patience and Perseverance — Discouragement and Projected Emigration 
to Australia in Middle Life — The Emperor's Attachment to Him — 
Count SeckendorfF Makes a Little Mistake — The Crown Prince's Servant 

— •' Nanti Strumpf," the German Pasquino. 

VIII 
Sunshine and Shadow in the Penisola . . . . 170 

"Zoroaster" at Pompeii — My Brother's Wife and Her Family — The 
Duke of Wellington's Maxim — A Young Turk — Filangieri the Fire- 
eater — King Ferdinand's Dismissal of the Swiss Guards — The Surrender 
of Palermo — Garibaldi's "Double" — A Veteran's Experiences — Roast 
Goose for Four — A Franciscan in England — The Amiable Crispi — The 
Disaster of Massouah — Tragedy in the Flesh — Hill-road Pictures — A 
Contrast in Funerals. 

viii 



CONTENTS 

IX Page 

Ravello, Capri, and Ischia 197 

A Twilight Drive — Ravello by Moonlight — *' The Immortals " — Uncle 
Sam at the Cocumella — A Purely Personal Question — A Squall in the 
Bay — The Sun-smitten Island — Uncle Sam at Anacapri — " Oh, wrenn es 
nur immer so bliebe!" — Doctor Munthe's Villa — The Library of My 
Dreams — A Homesick Sphynx — Marion's Rock-study — A "Festa on 
the Terrace" — The Barber Musician and His Troupe — The Catastrophe 
of Casamicciola — The Parroco and His Free-thinkers. 



Our Lady of the Rosary at Pompeii . . . . 221 

The Study in the Tower — A Marvellous Night Scene — "Japan, the 
Impersonal ' ' — The Santuario of Pompeii — A Pious Lawyer and a For- 
saken District — A Successful Mission — The Miraculous Picture Found 
behind a Door — Its Humble Conveyance to Pompeii — A Splendid Throne 
and a Heartful of Names — Thank-offerings of Great Price — Saintly Collab- 
orators — The Parish Church of the World — Orphan Girls and Sons of 
Convicts — The Fifteen Saturdays — The Miracle of Don Pasquale Bortone 
— A True Love Story — My Wayfarers — A Visit to the Santuario. 

XI 

Life at Villa Crawford 256 

A Trying Journey — A Neapolitan Bridal Party — Wedding Presents and 
Business-like Precautions — Sponsorial Liabilities — Concetta Changes Her 
Mind — " Over the Cliff ! " — A Church under the Sea — Two Venture- 
some Ladies and a Fortunate Catastrophe — The Water Trust and Its 
Guardian — Living Pictures at the Villa — Henry James Pays Us a Visit 
There — A Triumph of Ambition — The Children's Tarantella — Embar- 
rassing Guests — A Goddess of the Hills. 

XII 
The Out-Trail 279 

In Tyrol — Mary Howitt and the Dominican Father — An Ideal Home — 
The Prince Bishop's Manor House — Hansi and Liesel — Across the World 
Again ! — Rio Pictures — • A Monte Video Couple — A Fragile Cargo — 
Good-bye, Summer — The Frozen Straits — Antarctic Cannibals — The 
Globe Rainbow — A Forgotten Rock — Santiago, the " Paris of South 
America " — Wet Lodgings — My First Earthquake — A " Little Place " 
in Peru — A Pretty Quiverful — Chilean Family Life. 

ix 



CONTENTS 

XIII Page 

Purely Domestic 305 

A Mistake and Its Consequences — My Heavy Handful — The Grocer's 
Assistant — Scandal and Compromise — Revelations of the Ice-chest — A 
Conquering Substitute — A Painful Interview — "Them Jams, Madam!" 

— The Disappearance of Juan — A Sympathetic Inspector — A Good 
Friday Misadventure — "Muffins!" — Clara's Irish Lover. 

XIV 
In a South American Capital 321 

Sarah Bernhardt in Santiago — The Luxury of Tears — A Paternal Impres- 
ario and a Forsaken Opera Company — Dangers of Dining Out — The 
Nitrate War — The Arbitration Courts — An Official Surprise — The 
"Impartial" Brazilian — "Think of our Wives and Families!" — 
The Cholera Comes over the Passes — Death Traps in the Andes — Two 
Errors of Judgment — A Gruesome Caller — Seiior B.'s Brilliant Idea — 
Santiago Apaches — A Discriminating Thief — Those Honest Policemen! 

XV 

Spanish-American Ways and Traditions .... 347 

Treacherous Sisters — The "Toothache" Signal — A Young Diplomatist 
in Guatemala — Forgotten ? — An Unauthorised Flight — Remembered 
Music — A Little " Pronunciamento " — The Christmas Fair in Santiago 

— A Tireless Dancer — Turn on the Hose ! — Country Dandies and Their 
Splendours — What the Girls Learn — Strange Funeral Customs — Un- 
explained! — A Were-wolf of the Campagna. 

XVI 
" Battle, Murder, and Sudden Death ! " ... 366 

The Curse of the Latins — Mademoiselle Jaures and the Broken Crucifix — 
Santa Maria Desecrates the Cemeteries — A Clandestine Funeral — Chilean 
Heroines — The Tram-car Riot — A Resolute Mob — A Massacre of the 
Innocents — Stolen Bullion — The President in Hiding — The Children's 
Game and the Tyrant's End. 

XVII 
A Watering Place in the Andes 381 

A Trying Situation — Degenerate Spanish — "No Doctors or Lawyers!" 
The Mystical " Manto " — Pretty Prayer Carpets — A Startling Sight — 
The Parrot in Church — The Ways of Good Women — A Piously Con- 
ducted Pilgrimage — The Baths of Cauquenes — Conservative Grandees — - 
White Acacias — A Lonely Bloom — The Dream-letter — Where Our 
Marching Orders Found Me — A Memory and a Farewell. 
X 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Mrs. Hugh Fraser Frontispiece ^ 

View of the Palazzo Odescalchi Facing page 40 ^ 
F. Marion Crawford . . . . " " 172 ^x 

Mr. Hugh Fraser " " 300 ^ 



REMINISCENCES OF A 
DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

I 

FROM THE ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

A Roman Sunday — A Long-lost Uncle, and a Pearl — A Lover of Horace 
Sees Rome in a Day — Recollections of my Aunt Medora — Strawberries, 
Sunshine, and Songs — An Unmourned Mother-in-law — Bath, the For- 
saken — The Mistake of a Great Physician — I Make My Curtsey to My 
Sovereign — "The First Turn at the Mill!" 

ON a certain Sunday morning, when I was about nine- 
teen, I awoke with the conviction that something 
unusually pleasant was going to happen. The time was 
winter — but Roman winter, with dazzling sunshine, 
sparkling air, and a sky of radiant blue doming in a 
city of softly-tinted palaces and diamond-tossing foun- 
tains, a blue that painted soft reflections of itself in 
every undulation of the Campagna and darkened to 
cobalt on the distant peaks of the Sabines, where the 
rare whiteness of new-fallen snow shone out for win- 
ter's signature. Indoors all was flowery with roses and 
lilies and violets filling the house with perfume that 
mingled heavily with the warm smell of pine and olive 
wood burning in the open fireplaces; but "indoors" is 
hardly the word for the interior of the Odescalchi, as 
there the windows were almost always open to the rush 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

of air and sunshine and fountain-made music that came 
in on every breath. 

Of all the days I remember, none was ever more 
harmoniously born for the entrance of a great new per- 
sonality into my life; indeed, he who was even then on 
the way to us was one of those for whom beneficially 
invincible influences always seemed to prepare the most 
characteristic and happy setting. I knew the setting was 
not made for nothing, and as I wandered through the 
rooms, pausing to smell a rose or glance in a mirror, I 
felt that the delightful happening was coming nearer 
every moment. 

It was before the mirror that it caught me, rejoicing 
in the effect of sunlight on a champagne-coloured poplin 
frock that my mother had just given me. There came 
a ring at the bell, so loud and long that I was too startled 
to move for a minute, but then I flew to the front door, 

— no one but myself should answer that call, — and 
when I flung the portal open I found myself instantly 
enfolded in a mighty embrace, while a voice, unheard 
since my earliest childhood, cried, " You are Mimoli ! 
Ah, I knew it!" 

" Uncle Sam ! " I managed to say against a broad 
grey shoulder, and then he held me off to look at me 
and gave me a chance to look at him. How I remember 
it now, the fine face so like my mother's, the dark eyes 

— like hers too but full of sharper, more piercing light 

— the beautiful, harmonious mouth, the full, dominant 
brow — more of it visible than of old when the brown 
hair used to hang a little over it! 

2 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

The hair was rather grey now and so was the " Im- 
perial," which I remembered so well. I seemed to re- 
member even the shepherd's plaid suit and the dark- 
red tie and the black sapphire on the right hand. Uncle 
Sam! We had been hoping year after year that he 
would pay us a visit, and he had come at last. 

I led him as far as the red room and there he stopped 
short, sniffing at the warm flower-and-fire scents in vis- 
ible delight. " Will you stay here," I asked, " while I 
go and tell mamma? I hope she won't go quite crazy 
with happiness! " 

" Wait a minute," he replied, and drew me to the 
window, where, with the sun shining Into his eyes, he 
felt for and pulled something out of his waistcoat pocket. 
" There, my dear," he said, " that is for you — because 
you opened the door to me." And he held out a great 
lustrous pearl that shimmered as If It had a living 
light inside of it. I gasped as he put It into my hand. 
" Have it set as a ring," he commanded. " It Is a stud 
now." 

" It 's the moon. Uncle Sam — you have given me the 
moon ! I shall never have to cry for her again ! " I 
was so overcome that I forgot to thank him. 

" There, go and call your mother," he said, laughing 
at my ecstasy as I departed to do as I was bid. 

We left them alone for a little while and then we 
all took possession of him, Annie and I and the little 
children, and " Paterno," as we called my step-father; 
and the good Italian servants began to fly about in sym- 
pathetic excitement to prepare a room for him, while 
3 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the old cook thought out a dream of a breakfast. But 
a great blow was In store for us. My mother brought 
it on herself too soon — for one should never ask the 
fairies about their gifts. 

" You will stay all the winter, Sam! " she said. "We 
must have a Roman spring together." 

He shook his head, and then in a tone of terrific 
secrecy he replied, " Only one day this time, Louisa. 
I am here on most urgent business for a friend of mine 
— the Emperor of Brazil! " 

How the dear man enjoyed the effect of that dramatic 
announcement ! Our amazed silence spoke our awe better 
than any words could have done. He went on, quite 
airily now, to explain that it was a matter of railways 
for Brazil, some monster contract to put through and 
financiers to interview, though, as all the world knows, 
Rome has not been noted for steel or money for a good 
many centuries past, and then the steel, at any rate, did 
not take the form of rails. Whatever the business was, 
it was completed, to Uncle Sam's apparent satisfaction, 
during the first hour or so after breakfast, and then he 
returned to us demanding to be " shown Rome " before 
sunset. It was his first visit to the capital of the world 
and he certainly made the most of it, for he managed 
to see St. Peters', part of the Vatican (as a great favour, 
since the galleries were closed on Sundays), the Colos- 
seum, and I forget how much more, and to remember 
it too, though he was talking of everything under the 
sun, except Rome, all the time. There must be many 
living still who can recall the extraordinary charm of his 
4 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

talk, — that torrent of anecdote, reminiscence, criticism 
— this last ended generally in delicately trenchant sar- 
casm, — many who can smile still, remembering his 
admirable telling of ever-new stories, his swift character- 
isation of men and women, his inimitably witty im- 
promptu speeches, of which no printed record could give 
more than the faintest impression. Ah, dear Uncle Sam, 
who that ever knew you did not love you ? And who that 
loved you would not give untold treasure for one hour 
of your golden company, could you but come back to us 
again? 

After all, I think It was In his serious moments that 
I loved him best. Even on that first day there was a 
quiet interval when all the sightseeing was done; in the 
falling twilight he took his Horace from his pocket 
and, without opening the worn volume, began to repeat 
the description of the Sabine farm; then, yielding to the 
friendly melancholy of the Roman dusk, he told us all 
that Horace had been to him through life and earnestly 
recommended me to make the great poet my own. " No 
one can ever be lonely or sad who possesses Horace," 
he said. " All my life I have carried him about with 
me and he Is the most faithful and sustaining of com- 
panions. Some day I may show you my Horaces, the 
greatest treasure in my library. I have all the first edi- 
tions known to exist, but this little brown volume is the 
dearest of all. It never leaves me." He explained the 
date and preciousness of the wee book and went on: 
" My only regret to-day Is that I cannot get out to visit 
the farm. But that will be for next time, so don't be 
5 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

downhearted, my dear," for I was ready to cry at the 
thought of his departure that night. " I shall come back 
very soon. I could not keep away from Rome now 
that I have seen her." 

He meant what he said, but he was caught back and 
swept on by the tide of active life, which was his real 
sphere, and to Rome he did not return for many years. 
Nevertheless, that one triumphantly joyful day forged a 
new link in the chain that held him to us, and when we 
did meet again there was no sense of strangeness and 
very little memory of intervening separation. Before, 
he had been a part of the American Legend to me, 
one of the shining realities of the circle across the water, 
with which my mother's indefatigable correspondence and 
my own early memories never allowed me to become 
unfamiliar. But after his coming he had his place in 
my own life, and he has his place there still, with my 
other immortals. 

Samuel Ward was my mother's eldest brother and 
was already launched in life when my grandfather died. 
My mother, as I have related in an earlier volume,^ 
was then sixteen, — the second of the three sisters, who 
all lived to a good old age. The eldest, my dear Aunt 
Julia, only recently passed away, in her ninety-third year, 
younger in heart and brain still than any of her own 
or the next generation. There were three more brothers, 
but they were not endowed with the extraordinary vital- 
ity of the remainder of the family and died in youth 
or early manhood, having made but little mark in their 

1 See "A Diplomat's Wife in Many Lands." 

6 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

time. They were bright, handsome boys, and one, my 
Uncle Harry, was living when, as a little girl, I was 
taken to America, and was very kind to me. All I re- 
member of him was his sunny face, short golden hair, 
and blue eyes, and his delightful readiness to romp with 
small children. Of Uncle Sam I saw very little at that 
time, but his second wife, my Aunt Medora, was in- 
stantly set up in my heart as an image of everything 
lovely and worshipful, and her two boys were sometimes 
playmates of ours at Bordentown. The history of 
Uncle Sam's second marriage was rather a stirring one, 
owing chiefly, it was thought in the family, to his dismal 
bad luck in choosing a mother-in-law. 

If any woman can be said to have justified the ordi- 
nary vulgar conception of that ever-risky connection by 
marriage, that woman was Mrs. Grimes. She out- 
Mackenzied Mrs. Mackenzie in every trait except the 
one of unkindness to her offspring, and for that excep- 
tion she may, let us hope, have been forgiven her other 
shortcomings. Uncle Sam, rich, young, ardent, and in 
evident need of consolation for the untimely death of 
his first wife, sweet and good Emily Astor, at once caught 
the discerning eye of Mrs. Grimes when (from nowhere 
in particular) she appeared in New York with two 
beautiful but portionless daughters. He was musical, 
and had a charming voice — so had Medora; and she 
had, besides, the feminine grace, the large dark eyes, 
the Madonna forehead, and perfect though rather ex- 
pressionless features so much admired in the post-By- 
ronic, early-Victorian period. Her colouring was like 
7 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

that of a June rose, and in speaking her voice was rich 
and sweet. 

She and her sister were, I think, Creoles, and had all 
the glow and languor of their accidental origin, and their 
exotic names, Medora and Athenais, suited them perfectly. 
My chief recollection of Aunt Medora is a very bright 
and pretty one. I must have been just six years old 
when I was sent in state to pay her a morning visit in 
her house in New York. It was in summer time and I 
found her standing before a Louis Quinze dressing- 
table, looking at herself in the mirror as she arranged 
her dark hair in wide braids low over her ears, in the 
fashion of the day. There was a plate of ripe straw- 
berries on the dressing-table, and a mixture of sweet un- 
familiar perfumes In the air. Aunt Medora was dressed 
in an embroidered white muslin peignoir that had an 
under-robe of pink silk just the colour of her cheeks. 
The sun came into the big luxurious bedroom through 
green Venetian blinds and one long shaft lay on the 
moss-green carpet. She smiled at me and held out the 
plate of strawberries, saying, " Sit down on the floor, my 
dear, and eat them while I finish doing my hair." 

It was such a delightful way of receiving a child. No 
putting one on one's best behaviour and making one an- 
swer a lot of stupid questions — just the fragrant fruit 
and the soft carpet and the stealing sunshine, and her 
beautiful self to look at in happy silence. When she 
had finished her toilet and I the strawberries, she got 
out her guitar and sang to me the songs that had sung 
her into my uncle's heart, — " Oh, bring to me my Arab 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

Steed," " The Minstrel Boy to the Wars is gone," " My 
Earrings, my Earrings, I Ve dropped them in the well," 
and I don't know how many more, — songs that entirely 
met the emotional wants of our simple-minded forbears, 
but whose very titles send people into fits of laughter 
now. I doubt if we are any the better for that. Sen- 
timentality with a large S keeps people much younger 
than realism with a small r. I had thought that Aunt 
Medora must be old, because my cousins were great 
boys of twelve and thirteen, but when I saw her that 
day I concluded that there was some mistake; I felt 
with certainty that, though she was so beautiful and 
looked so grown up, she was in reality not much older 
than myself, so completely had she understood my child- 
ish inclinations and sympathies. 

I think Aunt Medora was a very simple person, and 
as my Uncle Sam was an extremely complex one, she 
understood only the sides of his character which ap- 
pealed to her. This need not have come between them, 
perhaps, since such is the case with many harmonious 
couples; but alas, the old lady, her mother, was of a 
disposition neither simple nor harmonious. Aggressive^ 
domineering, and grasping, she heated misunderstand- 
ings to quarrels, made herself disliked by the whole of 
the Ward family, and inspired in Uncle Sam's generous 
heart the only hatred I believe it ever nourished. In 
after years, long after the death of Medora and the two 
sons, — neither of them grew to manhood, poor boys, — 
he used to say, alluding to his mother-in-law, " She is 
still alive, but I shall outlive her." I happened to be 
9 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

with him when he received the announcement that she 
had at last passed away, and his naughty jubilation would 
have scandalised any one ignorant of the provocations 
he had endured. He was an old gentleman himself by 
that time, but the memory of his early trials was still 
hot within him, and he skipped around the room like a 
boy exclaiming, "I have outlived her! I have outlived 
her!" 

My next meeting with Uncle Sam took place in Lon- 
don, in the winter of 1879-80. My husband returned 
from China and rejoined me in Rome in the May of 
'79, and soon afterwards we travelled to England, where 
he wished to spend his few months of leave after his 
five years' stay in China. Our children were still small 
and exceedingly rampant, not good travelling companions 
for their father, whose nerves were always rather over- 
strung and just now in crying need of rest; so I sent 
him on before us and followed a couple of days later 
with their nurse, a much-travelled woman, who had re- 
placed our Chinese amah when the latter returned to the 
East. Incidentally I had a very pleasant experience on 
that journey. One of my childhood's friends, Gordon 
Greenough, the son of the well-known sculptor of that 
name, had come to Rome during the preceding winter 
with John Sargent. They had both been studying in Paris 
and were generally looked upon as inseparables. Young 
Greenough was, we all thought, quite as gifted as Sar- 
gent, although in the strict routine of the Paris " ate- 
liers " he had only just been advanced beyond charcoal 
drawing, to which Carolus Duran, whose pupils they 
10 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

both were, held his aspirants sternly for two years, while 
Sargent was already playing about joyously on rainbow 
oceans of oil colour. Gordon's drawings — he executed 
some striking portraits that winter — had a " maestria " 
and a fidelity which promised great things for his future, 
and he had besides a peculiarly charming personality 
and just that touch of romance without which youth is 
never quite youth. He is one of those who will be young 
forever, for the future never came, here. He died a 
few years after that winter in Rome. Our last meeting, 
in Paris, was one which I have always been able to look 
back upon with the greatest pleasure. Mrs. Greenough, a 
brilliant and charming woman from whom I had received 
untold kindness, wrote to tell her son I was passing 
through Paris, and Gordon rose to the occasion gal- 
lantly. At four o'clock in the morning, after an all- 
through journey from Rome, our train crawled into the 
Gare de Lyons, and the first face that showed at our win- 
dow was that of my dear Gordon, smiling joyfully and 
ready to take our rather forlorn little party in hand. How 
glad I was to see him ! I had just had one of those hours 
of black fatigue and depression which I have come to 
know too well since, for they almost always attack me 
at the end of a lonely journey to some unfamiliar place. 
My responsibilities had been looming monstrous ever 
since the grey dawn shone in through the compartment 
window, and I had been, as the saying is, " kicking my- 
self " for having let my natural protector go on alone. 
I had not been in Paris for many years and never knew 
It well, and I was sure I should lose my children and 
II 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

my nurse and all my money before I made the Gare 
du Nord. So the relief was proportionately great when 
Gordon took us in charge in his masterful way, packed 
us and our many belongings into a carriage, and told the 
driver to go to the Continental. Then I found my 
breath to ask him the one question which appeared in- 
soluble to my knowledge of his habits. " How on earth 
did you manage to get up in time? " 

"Get up!" he exclaimed, "why, nobody could do 
that! I didn't try. I haven't been to bed — yet. It 
is not so very late, you know! " 

We were expected at the Continental, Hugh having 
reserved rooms for us on his way through, and a couple 
of hours later the journey and its dust was forgotten 
and I was all ready for my friend when he turned up 
to take me out for the day. The babies I could safely 
leave to Marguerite, who had lived much in Paris and 
was looking forward to showing them the toyshops and 
the Champs Elysees, and Gordon and I set out on a 
holiday wandering in which we took turns to decide on 
the points to be made for. Of course I started with the 
Louvre. I had not been there since I was fourteen, and 
the Venus of Milo and Mona Lisa were calling me aloud. 
We were very silent there, and very happy. Then the 
boy said, " It is my turn now. I am going to take you 
to my place, the Salon." So to the Salon we went, and 
for hours we wandered from one room to another in 
the curious exuberance of mind that fine modern art al- 
ways produces. No wistful straining of the spirit's wings 
there, no awe, no reverential melancholy, no poignant 

12 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

questionings from the blind present to the all-seeing glory 
of the past — just contemporary thoughts, ideals and ef- 
forts, all of which can be judged and appraised without 
danger of presumption. And that year the Salon was 
very interesting, dominated as it was by Carolus Duran's 
splendid portraits. I liked the *' Enfant Rouge " the best 
of all, I remember. But there were others — one par- 
ticularly of some unknown woman in black — which were 
almost as good. There were some fair attempts at sculp- 
ture and Rodin was well in evidence, but my classical 
upbringing made it impossible for me to be very enthu- 
siastic about him. The French art of the Second Empire 
was still in the ascendancy, still the loving though self- 
asserting child of Meissonnier, Millet, Corot, and the 
great ones of their day, and the gaiety and grace and 
colour of the many paintings supplied what may have 
been lacking in idea. Upstairs were the galleries of 
drawings, where some of Gordon's own were well hung, 
and he lingered over these tenderly and prophetically, 
his mind full of the great pictures which he promised 
himself should hang, before long, in places of honour 
in the rotunda below. 

The rest of the day — well, I do not remember it so 
clearly — we lunched outrageously late, mooned in the 
Bois, fribbled in the Rue de Rivoli, " must have dined 
somewhere," as the pleasant woman in '* The Liars " 
says, and talked three quarters of the night. 

Realities gripped me the next morning. An affection- 
ate but awe-inspiring husband was waiting for me at 
Folkestone, the nurse was simply tyrannical about the 
13 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

rugs and coats and lunch-baskets she would carry round 
for the children, and my smallest boy — aged not quite 
three — was extremely angry with me for some reason 
and vented his wrath in strange French threats all the 
way to the Gare du Nord. " Ce n'est pas pour les 
prunes quand je suis fache avec ma f emme ! " was one, I 
remember, and " Ce n'est pas moi qui veux travailler pour 
le Roi de Prusse," a phrase which then meant working 
for nothing. The faithful Gordon, who again appeared 
at some unearthly hour to see us to the station, this time 
with a " botte de roses " a yard long in one hand and 
a parcel of the newest French books in the other, was 
dying to box his ears, and very nearly threw his nurse, 
Marguerite, out of the window when, interrupting our 
last precious minutes of conversation, she respectfully 
drew my attention to the spot where some years before 
a now forgotten criminal called Troppman had been exe- 
cuted for slaughtering an entire family, thus giving rise 
to the term " Troppmanniser," to describe wholesale 
murder. 

It was good-bye to all my own airs when the train 
steamed out of the station, for I always leave my real 
self in storage when I go to England, and my dear Hugh 
had very little use at any time for the Mediterranean- 
born side of my personality. Also it was good-bye to 
Gordon Greenough, though, thank God ! we neither of 
us knew it then. That night I was introduced to the 
expensive discomfort of an English provincial hotel — 
cotton sheets, grimy rooms, sulky servants, smells of stale 
cold meats and musty pickles everywhere, a brown Bible 
14 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

In every bedroom, " baths extra," and the hideous neces- 
sity of going downstairs to breakfast staring me in the 
face for the morning ! The next day we all went up to 
Bath, to make the acquaintance of Hugh's mother and 
sister. Let us " dror a veil," as Jeames says, over first 
impression, not of those kind, good ladies themselves, 
but of the awful melancholy and dulness of all their 
surroundings. I was young, and only half disciplined yet, 
and if I had known any swear-words, I believe I should 
have used them all on every one of the thirty days we 
stayed in that depressing place. It rained all the time, 
the black pillars of the porticos on the big forsaken 
Georgian houses grew blacker and shinier every day. I 
never went out without ruining a frock, and I was thank- 
ful when we could leave and run down to Bonchurch in 
the Isle of Wight, where I had persuaded Hugh to take 
a house for the few remaining months of our holiday. I 
had affectionate recollections of the pretty place, and 
wanted also to see the dear " Aunts " again and renew 
many a quaint pleasant memory of the childish years I 
had spent under their tutelage. 

They, and the Undercliff, and the sea, were all that 
I had lovingly remembered for so long, but the effects 
on my health of the four years In Peking were still 
acute, In spite of all the nursing at home, and at last I 
made up my mind to go up to London and consult a 
certain great specialist as to how to get well again. 
When I wrote to my mother about this decision, she in- 
stantly Informed me that Uncle Sam Ward was in town, 
with the other uncle, Adolphe Mailliard, and that she 
15 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

was apprising them of my coming, so I went willingly- 
enough, Hugh consenting to stay behind and look after 
the children for a fortnight. 

In spite of invalidism it was a royal fortnight for me. 
I found the two uncles waiting for me with open arms, 
and if ever a young woman was spoiled by men who 
made a fine art of spoiling, it was myself. They made 
me their guest at Brown's Hotel, and dear Uncle Sam, 
although just then one of the most sought-after men in 
town, devoted himself to looking after me. An amusing 
thing happened on the occasion of the great specialist's 
first visit. He had given me a thorough overhauling, 
resulting in a not very encouraging verdict with accom- 
panying advice. I then expected him to take his leave, 
but he lingered about in a perplexing way, and I was 
wondering whether he was trying to summon up reso- 
lution to pronounce my approaching death warrant when, 
to my amazement, he asked for his fee. Seeing my sur- 
prise (for I was unaware that eminent physicians would 
condescend to be paid on the spot), he explained that 
men of physicians' rank could not legally collect accounts, 
and, as I was not a resident in town, he would like to 
take the two guineas with him. My maid had gone out 
of the room, and all I could do was to give him from 
under my pillow the key of my dressing-case and tell him 
to help himself, which he did with much seriousness. He 
had to hunt around some time among my jewelry and 
smelling-bottles for the right coins, and when he had 
found them, locked the case, gave me back the key and 
bowed himself out with quite the grand manner. His 
i6 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

keenness for payment proved unfortunate to him, for 
dear Uncle Sam had been waiting outside on the landing 
with five guineas, which he tried to press into the learned 
gentleman's hand. The latter, to his chagrin, had to 
confess that he had already collected his fee, and went 
away, as he afterwards told me himself, three guineas 
the poorer for his pains. 

As I have said. Uncle Sam was just then the fashion 
in London and was immensely enjoying his popularity. 
I think he had come over merely to accompany Uncle 
Adolphe, who was selling thoroughbred horses from his 
California stud to certain big racing men, and the two 
were inseparable, though Uncle Sam, being specially 
gifted in that way, did all the talking. They formed 
a great contrast — Uncle Adolphe tall, quiet, slim, and 
as handsome as ever, and Uncle Sam, short, thickset, 
but finely built, bubbling over with sociability and frankly 
enchanted at having such a good time. 

Uncle Sam had struck up a great friendship with Mr, 
Gladstone and just then Mr. Gladstone was at the height 
of his fame, his name, either for praise or blame, being 
in every mouth. Uncle Sam accompanied him on an 
oratorical campaign in Midlothian, and once, when things 
had gone more triumphantly than usual even, was im- 
pelled to make a speech of congratulation. As I have 
said, he was past-master in such arts, but Lord Rose- 
bery, who was standing at his elbow, became alarmed 
at the elaborate rhetoric of his opening peroration, and 
a panic-struck whisper hissed into Uncle Sam's ear, 
"Look out, you're getting muddled!" "/.'" My 
17 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

uncle's eyes flashed fire as he recounted the Incident to 
me, and his laugh rang with victory as he added, " He 
didn't know me, did he?" 

Lord Rosebery's warning was prompted only by his 
great friendship for the speaker, a friendship testified 
to in every possible way then, when the party was stay- 
ing at Dalmeny and enjoying the gracious hospitahty 
of Lady Hannah, as her friends were prone to call 
Lady Rosebery. Like everybody else. Uncle Sam be- 
came her devoted slave, and a couple of years later, 
when, for the third time in his life, he was mulcted of 
a large fortune by his misplaced trust in unworthy per- 
sons, was deeply touched by the Roseberys' earnest 
request that he would look upon their home as his own. 
Another friend, the late Duke of Sutherland, promptly 
tendered him a similar invitation, and these kindnesses, 
although he could not bring himself to take advantage 
of them, went far towards reconciling him to the loss 
of his money — a very serious misfortune to a man of 
his age and tastes. 

I think the tempters were beginning to lay their snares 
for him when we were together In London. I remember 
a luncheon at Brown's Hotel, ordered after much re- 
flection on my uncle's part (and he was an artistic expert 
in gastronomy) at which I was ordered to appear with 
my best frock and sweetest smile, as I was to make the 
acquaintance of some great friends of his. Luckily they 
were late, for Uncle Sam did not turn up till the last 
moment, when he burst In, radiant as usual, and pro- 
duced a camembert cheese from under his coat. 
i8 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

'* There 's only one place in town where you can get 
the real ones," he exclaimed, and then, as I sniffed the 
thing critically, he went on: " Yes, I Ve carried it all the 
way down Piccadilly! I wonder if you would have had 
the courage to do that?" 

At that moment his friends arrived, a rising journalist 
looking rather overawed, his pretty, appealing young 
wife, and another man, who supplied all the talk and, 
I fancy, the brains of the party. I do not remember 
or wish to remember their names — I did not take to 
them and never saw any of them again, but I have never 
been able to disconnect them with the sad losses which 
ensued. Uncle Sam never said a single hard word about 
any one connected with or responsible for those losses — 
indeed, as my dear mother said, " God gave him large- 
ness of heart as the sands of the sea." 

I parted with the uncles at the end of a fortnight and 
returned to Bonchurch, where earlier in the year my 
mother and younger sister had joined us and remained 
for some weeks before going to America, where they 
were called by the disastrous condition of my mother's 
affairs, to which I referred in a former volume. The 
having or not having money never sat very heavily on 
any of our family, and my mother was her charming, 
benign self, ready to enjoy the divine charm of the 
climate, the " Violets of the Undercliff," the pleasant talk 
of the dear Sewells, and the hours with me, without any 
repining or fussing as to future arrangements. The 
Sewells gathered in force that summer; the nephews' 
and nieces' voices filled Ashcliff during the holidays and 
19 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

I had great pleasure in meeting again with some of them, 
notably with Robert Sewell, who, as a very young man, 
had been most kind to Jennie and myself when we had 
to stay at Bonchurch during the Christmas holidays, our 
Roman home being too distant to travel to for those 
few winter weeks. We had known him as " Bob," and 
"Bob" he remained for me, though by 1879 he had 
passed into the Indian Civil Service with flying colours 
and was in the eyes of his world a personage of impor- 
tance. We met again a few years ago, in London, and 
stared at each other, realising rather painfully the march 
of time. He had retired with honour from his long 
hard work, and was bringing out a learned but most 
thrillingly interesting work called " A Forgotten Em- 
pire," which, I remember, I read eagerly and forgot 
to thank him for — how many golden apples one does 
not pause to pick up in life's race ! 

We all went our different ways after that summer 
of reunion; my people stayed long in America; Marion 
was in India; events there and nearer home cast a 
cloud of depression over public feeling, and Hugh 
and I were glad enough when he received his appoint- 
ment to Vienna. One formality which I have never 
chronicled had to be gone through before proceeding to 
our new post — my presentation to the Sovereign, who 
had at last emerged from her overlong seclusion and 
shown herself to her grumblingly faithful subjects. How 
deeply her abandonment of them was felt and how little 
she seemed to know of their feelings on the subject! 
During the years of my education at Bonchurch I re- 
20 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

member a melancholy parody of an old hymn, which 
was always in the air. 

Where is our gracious Queen? 

Far, far away! 
Where is Victoria seen? 

Far, far away, etc., etc. 

I could not make my bow in Vienna without having 
been presented, so Hugh took me up to town for a 
distracting fortnight of shoppings and tryings-on, both 
of us grudging the time from the heavenly spring days 
down in the Isle of Wight. At last the great day ar- 
rived and I was taken in charge by dear Mary Clarke 
(nee Rose), to whom the ways of Buckingham Palace 
were as familiar as they were unknown to me. It was 
the first time since I was a baby that I had found myself 
driving through the streets by morning light in a low 
dress, and I felt as if I ought to be arrested for dis- 
orderly conduct. But I was only one of hundreds, pass- 
ing between lines of staring people who voiced their 
opinions of our frocks and faces quite without reserve. 
When we reached the august domicile my friend shot 
me out into the crowd and drove off to the " Petite En- 
tree " of which she had the privilege, and I at once lost 
my individuality in the herds of ridiculously dressed 
women, of whom I was one. Driven from pen to pen 
like instalments of sheep, — only sheep is not the right 
term for a mob of over-dressed, elbowing, red-faced 
women who behaved like famished animals fighting for 
a place at the troughs, — passing from one ugly, com- 

21 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

monplace room to another through a " guichet " turned 
by a lounging thing in uniform, which I afterwards 
learnt was a Life Guardsman, shivering with cold and 
longing for the cup of tea or bouillon which pecunious 
royalty refuses to provide, two or three of the weariest 
hours of my life passed in this way, lightened only by 
one humorous incident. My instalment of the mob in- 
cluded a certain peeress whom I vaguely remembered as 
an assiduous visitor in my mother's house in days gone 
by. The poor woman had forgotten the name and 
Standing of the man I had married, and was evidently 
torn with anxiety as to whether she had better renew 
the acquaintance or not. But she had with her a nice 
chatty young daughter, very badly dressed but brim- 
ming over with goodwill and interest, and before her 
mother had had a chance to get a look at my card the 
girl had told me how much " Mamma " had enjoyed 
the hospitality of the Odescalchi in old days, etc., etc. 
But " Mamma " was icy until, in pity for her, I turned 
the card in my hand, when her eagle eye discerned 
Lady Salisbury's name as my official godmother, and the 
ice thawed at once. We were separated soon after that, 
my train was lifted off my arm and deftly spread by 
the Gold-sticks, and the next instant I was making my 
best " plongeon " to the Queen, who smiled very kindly 
down on me as I kissed her hand. I was not too " rat- 
tled " to notice the low clear tone in which my name 
was communicated to her by the man at her elbow, or 
the little sideways bend of the head with which she 
received it — as if one modest name more or less could 

22 



ODESCALCHI TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

possibly matter among the hundreds that were on the 
lists of the day! 

There was a long file of Princes and Princesses, all 
in their best clothes and proper order, beyond the Queen, 
and I was not quite sure how many of them expected 
curtseys. I wanted to pause before the Princesses, only 
to see their frocks and jewels, — for the poor things' 
faces were so bored and tired that they looked less ani- 
mated than their likenesses at Madame Tussaud's, — but 
my American soul revolted when the men of the family 
stared without even bending their heads as I passed by, 
so I tossed mine in the air and ran right into the arms 
of the friendly Gold-sticks (who were laughing, the 
wretches) and out into the hubbub of the great hall 
beyond. There I came to a sudden standstill to gaze 
at one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen — 
the present Lady Warwick. She looked like a white 
hyacinth crowned with red gold. 

For the rest I suppose my friend found me and brought 
me home, but I remember nothing more until the happy 
moment when, having shudderingly cast aside my finery, 
I got into a soft tea-gown and a deep armchair, and the 
sympathetic maid brought me a cup of tea. It was the 
first atom of comfort I had had all day. 

" The first turn at the Mill, my dear," remarked my 
husband grimly. " You will get used to it in time." 

" II en parlait bien a son aise," dear man, for he ab- 
solutely refused to attend a Levee, and whirled me off 
to the country at once. Many tempting invitations fol- 
lowed us there, for the season was opening brilliantly, 
23 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

but we knew there would be plenty of hard work of that 
kind in Vienna and except for one or two visits to 
country houses we gave the last weeks of our leave to 
the sea and the myrtles and the balmy, sunshot mists of 
the Isle of Wight. 



24 



n 

IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

A Forgotten Picture in the House of Thought — A Premature Excursion 
and a Breach of Discipline — The First Fairy Story — Croatian Nurses — 
The Masked Lady — A Summer at Weissenbach — A Mad King and 
a Wise Regent — The Emperor and Count Andrassy — Haynau the 
Repressor. 

THE House of Thought is full of forgotten pictures. 
They hang in secret chambers reached only 
through many a twist and turn of the labyrinth of memory ; 
a touch of colour or a whiff of perfume, perhaps the half- 
heard tinkle of a distant bell, and the clue has dropped 
into one's palm, vibrating with the ever-seductive whis- 
per, "Follow and you shall find!" And Thought 
springs up, leaving life's exchange of custom for the 
shadowy love-haunted realms of her own domain, and, 
following, finds the unknown door that opens to her 
touch and reveals one more sweet living vision, gar- 
nered In the sunshine, forgotten in the storm, but glow- 
ing now, radiant as ever before the eyes of the hom- 
ing soul. 

To one such I was led a few nights ago. The spend- 
thrift gold of autumn on my Pacific Slope had first lulled, 
then intoxicated me with its glory. The winter seemed 
a thousand years away; the river ran in peacock blues 
and greens between the fields where the ricks stood, not 
grey, but gold, '* to the sun." Long stretches of alfalfa 
25 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

lay like breadths of emerald velvet on the rich lowland 
where the costly irrigation ditches still shot out their 
bounty; the mignonette in the garden sent fragrant 
greetings through the open windows (how its faithful 
sweetness has followed me round the world!), and the 
thick-coated brown-and-white yearlings came and rubbed 
their innocent noses against the gate without trying to 
break through — there was plenty of crisp fresh feed 
outside! 

Then, in an hour, the winter leapt upon us. Snow 
and sleet, grey skies and arctic winds laid a colourless 
pall over the country; the full moon came up a few 
hours later like a shield of ice and looked down on a 
white, white world. A sleigh flew by, noiseless but for 
its ripple of bells. The year was dead, and I turned, 
shivering, from the vision of its obsequies, to catch sight 
of a shred of blue stuff that had blown out of some 
arcana of my forgotten possessions. But what a blue! 
It caught me like an embrace, and for an hour I stormed 
my memory for its name and home. Then it came to 
me where I had seen it once, and only once, before. 

An April morning in the upper Austrian Tyrol; a cold 
yet cloudless sky; a great indigo lake, stretching away 
from the low woody shore before me to lap silently 
against the sheer black wall of the Drachenberg, far to 
the southward; on forest and peak and sweeping meadow 
an immaculate mantle of fresh-fallen snow of that liv- 
ing whiteness which lasts but an hour; and on the snow, 
as if Spring, performing polite little obsequies over 
Winter's grave, had fled in haste from his unwelcome 
26 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

resurrection and had dropped all her blossoms as she 
ran, millions of blue periwinkles buried up to their necks 
in the snow, but spreading hopeful petals wide upon 
it to sun and sky. The ethereal whiteness below them, 
the crisp glory of the air above, shot through those petals 
such a blue as Fra Beato dreamt of when he painted his 
Paradiso; nor was his pure gold wanting, for, compan- 
ioning the periwinkles, and shaking their little trumpets 
valiantly in the breeze, were masses of pale yellow cow- 
slips that had sprung up with them in the misleading 
warmth of April's earlier days. 

We too had been misled, and had, as we thought, 
taken advantage of the sudden warm weather to go 
and hunt for summer quarters on the shores of the 
Attersee, a spot that I particularly wished to see. Also 
I wanted to get away from town for a few days, having 
just heard of the death of my dear Aunt Jennie Camp- 
bell, my father's only sister. In any sorrow one always 
wants to get away to nature, I think, so true is that 
which an American woman wrote, " Who toucheth this 
garment's hem shall be healed." So we blew into the 
*' Siidbahn " late one night, much to the mystification of 
the railway officials, who, adjured by our faithful old 
Wicks to take extra care of us and on no account to 
allow us to be disturbed, took us for a distinguished 
runaway couple — " Dass sind grosse Stiicke," I heard 
the station master whisper to the guard, — and locked us 
in with every mark of sympathetic interest and respect. 

The night grew colder and colder, and when we 
reached Gmunden towards seven o'clock the next morn- 
27 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

ing, it was to find ourselves set back into the winter once 
more. Coming in haste to the hotel we were dismayed 
to see that it was closed, and when at last we roused the 
proprietor, who looked as dazed and unkempt as a bear 
cheated of some of its winter sleep, he told us that he 
never expected any guests till June and was not at all 
sure that he could even give us breakfast. 

However, he did produce that desired meal, and very 
much we enjoyed it in the vast, empty dining-room where 
a hastily built fire was roaring within, and outside, 
through the great French windows, one could see the 
beautiful lake, just ruffled by the morning breeze and 
bordered with that unique philactery of flowers and snow. 
A queer two-horse " shay " was found somewhere, and 
by ten o'clock we had started off on our voyage of dis- 
covery round the Attersee. The little horses scrambled 
along gaily, the driver chattering all the time, plying 
us with questions as to where we came from and what 
on earth had brought us into the mountains at such a 
time of year. His frank comments on our recklessness 
made me forget to look out for the stone that should 
have marked the frontier, and long before I realised It 
we had passed into Bavaria — and Hugh had committed 
a serious breach of discipline In leaving Austria with- 
out special permission from his Chief. 

The escape lasted only a few hours and the Ambas- 
sador never knew anything about It, but it gave us a 
pleasant sense of runaway freedom, and, later, the chance 
of comparing the excellent roads on the Bavarian side 
with the little-travelled and quite elementary trails on 
28 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

the Austrian shores of the lake. True, bright little 
Bavaria had the softer country — longer reaches of 
meadow and pine wood between the water and the peaks 
— more sun and easier conditions generally, besides, 
as far as I was concerned, some afterglow of fun and 
happiness connected with baby memories of my dear 
father and our travels with him, which I have described 
in a foregoing volume. 

Bavaria has always struck me as especially German — 
echt Deutsch — in the bunch of characteristics which go 
to make up the German idea. A foundation of the 
sanest good sense, a frank enjoyment of all the good 
things of life, comfort, sociability, home-loving women, 
big jolly men mellowed by perennial draughts of the 
best beer in the world, and, side by side with all this, 
the ever-living romance that fills wood and stream and 
enchanted castle with fairy presences as delicate and 
persistent as the fall of the dew, that bestows the love 
of beauty and the gift of art, that breaks out in shock- 
ing tragedies in high places and makes idyls in humble 
ones. "So geht's bel uns!" That explains the phe- 
nomenon for the Bavarian mind; but the world's pilgrim 
tries to think out the sequence, and arrives at the con- 
clusion that a certain fundamental simplicity and gaiety 
of heart combined with appealing scenery, a kindly cli- 
mate and a bounteous soil, produce the organisation best 
fitted to understand and love the really beautiful, whether 
visible or spiritual. 

We were still out of Austria when, far down on the 
western side of the lake, our driver calmly informed 
29 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

us that the road went no further. " Da fahrt man nett! " 
he added, waving an arm towards the wall of the 
Drachenberg to which we were already so near that I 
could endorse the truth of the statement. The great 
crag rose from the water In one sheer wall of granite 
where a bird could scarce find place to perch. Seeing 
our disappointment, the driver suggested that we had 
better go and get something to eat at the little brown 
inn which marked the terminus of all transport In this 
direction, and at that moment the host appeared at his 
doorway and entreated us to enter, which we did, In 
rather a bad temper, I fear, for we had set our hearts 
on exploring the further shore and had started on this 
side only to have a look at the scenery. My annoyance, 
however, was very soon forgotten In listening to our 
host's account of what the Attersee could be In winter. 
Once within his memory, he told us, the entire lake had 
been frozen over, so that people skated across from one 
side to the other, and so terrible had that winter been 
that the very bears came down from the mountains and 
could be seen prowling round on the Ice In the moon- 
light. For the sake of the picture thus called up I tried 
to believe him, and decided that the bears of that re- 
gion must have differed very much from those of the 
work-a-day world, who are wise enough to sleep the 
long dark months away. It was this same garrulous 
innkeeper who decided our fate for that summer, for 
had he not offered us a ferry for ourselves and our con- 
veyance I am sure we should have returned to Gmunden 
in disgust and taken the first train back to Vienna. I 
30 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

had no taste for remote fastnesses In those days, but 
when a huge ferry came up to the landing-place, and 
we found ourselves, still in the carriage, being rowed 
across to Weissenbach, where, we were told, the mails 
arrived regularly by a little steamer that made the tour 
of the lake daily in summer, I felt that things looked 
possible, and Weissenbach itself, even under that rather 
wintry aspect, appealed to me irresistibly. 

The hotel, a double-storeyed wooden building with 
broad verandas on both floors, stood a little way back 
from the lake, towards which the land sloped gently in 
a wide meadow, just softening to a shimmer of green 
now under the hot sun which had already quite melted 
last night's snow. A stream, bordered with alders, 
rippled down to empty itself in the lake, and the woods, 
misty with new greenery, crept up as near as they dared 
and made a fairy background all around. The woods 
thickened to forest in the near distance, and, as far as 
the eye could see, the sombre pines clothed the ever- 
mounting hills with their unchanging mantle. Through 
them, we were told, lay the road to Ischl, and we at 
once decided to go home that way instead of returning 
by Gmunden. First, however, the object of our journey 
had to be accomplished, and we finally took rooms in 
a huge old stone farmhouse which was used as a depend- 
ance of the hotel and stood a stone's throw from it on 
the very border of the woods. Its comparative privacy 
was attractive and would give our turbulent small boys 
more liberty than they could enjoy in a house crowded 
with summer visitors, as the other place was sure to be. 
31 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

That point settled, we lunched hurriedly off the in- 
evitable " Kalbsschnitzel " on the upper veranda of the 
hotel, consoled for a scrappy meal by looking at the 
splendid panorama of lake and peak spread out before us. 
Then fresh horses were found for our vehicle and we 
started on the fifteen-mile drive through the mountains 
to Ischl, a most delightful experience. Driving is, of 
all modes of travelling, the one that suits me best, and 
when it Is my luck to travel through forests I come out 
soothed and good tempered and in the happiest possible 
mood. 

One of the great charms of life in Vienna lay in the 
fact that a train journey of a few minutes' duration, or 
even an easy drive, brought one right out to one of the 
charming villages that lie in the heart of the remains of 
that superb " Wiener Wald " which in old times cov- 
ered all this part of the country. Our favourite haunt 
was Dornbach, whither often I drove with my little 
boys on Sunday afternoons and where we used to romp 
and explore to our hearts' content, and have amazing 
picnics in fairy dells, so green and sunny and delicately 
remote that It was easy enough for me to spin chapter 
after chapter of the unending fairytale for which they 
clamoured whenever they and I could be together. Ah, 
that fairytale ! It was as enthralling to me as to them, 
and it carried us over some three years at least, embody- 
ing all the possible and impossible experiences of two 
little children called Harry and Lulu. Then one night, 
to our amazement, it ended Itself all of a sudden; the 
fiery dwarf, who had been the evil genius all through, 
32 



liN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

resolved himself into a huge flaming plum-pudding and 
was instantly gobbled up by his small conquerors. And 
then began the immortal history of " Barbotz, or the 
Life and Times of Padre Antonio," of which I have 
written elsewhere.^ 

My dear husband enjoyed the fairy stories nearly as 
much as the children did, I think, and sometimes helped 
them out by delightful illustrations. For " Barbotz " 
he made a little theatre and painted scenes, and we 
had marionettes for all the characters, and the wildest 
situations were represented with fine dramatic effect. 
"Barbotz" was a Devonshire product — the last fairy- 
tale of childhood, merging, as the years went by, into the 
stream of stories gay and sorrowful, funny and tragic, 
that we three have told each other and sometimes told the 
world too. That last thought was yet far from us in 
the Dornbach woods; still further — since the outside 
world was left on the other side of the mountains — 
from Weissenbach and the Attersee. 

The summer of 1880 Hugh and I had spent in town, 
unwillingly enough, though he had the financial con- 
solation of being Charge d'Affaires. Although we 
should have liked to take a house in the suburbs, the 
expense of transferring our entire establishment thither 
was not to be thought of, for a curious system prevails 
in that part of the world. Small houses are not rented 
furnished, and moving into one means bringing all the 
beds and tables and pots and pans " mit." I remember 
Lady Elliot's forlorn account of her first experience in 

^ The Brown Ambassador, Macmillan. 

33 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

that way, when Sir Henry was first Secretary at Vienna 
and their son, Francis, now a senior diplomatist of dis- 
tinction, was an infant in arms. The day of their de- 
parture from town turned out a pouring wet one and by 
the time the load of furniture arrived at its destination 
everything was soaked — except one mattress, which had 
to be given to the, just then, most important member of 
the family, the baby's wet-nurse. Everyone else slept 
on the floor with what few rags could be dried by bed- 
time. The nurse was of course a Croatian, so exer- 
cised about taking care of her beautiful costume and the 
baby that nothing beyond that would surprise or affect her. 
The Croatian women seem to have the monopoly of 
nursing aristocratic babies in Vienna. Tall, square- 
shouldered, with the swing of the mountains in their 
gait and the tang of freedom in their speech, they are 
picturesque enough to be painted, though I never heard 
of any artist who had used them as models. Their cos- 
tume is quaint to the last degree, consisting of an em- 
broidered sleeveless jacket, open at the neck, worn over 
a laced " camisole " which has the shortest possible 
puffed sleeves displaying arms of admirable shape and 
firmness. The white or pale blue skirt is enormously 
full and reaches hardly to the knees; in summer, brilliant 
orange-coloured stockings end in slippers with silver 
buckles, but in winter the wise Croatian woman draws 
on great cavalry top-boots which look strangely incon- 
gruous below the fly-away, opera-comique skirt. What 
a curious collection the costumes of nurses would make, 
from Ayah in her gauze wrappings to Balia in clinging 
34 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

scarlet cloth and gold lace — and Norman " Nou-nou " 
in full cloak and streaming cap ribbons ! 

As I have said, Hugh and I spent the summer in town, 
but our two small boys we sent off with their nurses 
to the Kahlenberg, a few hours' journey from the capi- 
tal, where they could play to their hearts' content among 
the great woods. Once every now and again, I would 
go up there for the day to satisfy myself that all was 
well with them; on which occasions I used to make a 
practice of walking from our apartment in the Karnt- 
ner Ring to the station, thereby arousing in myself 
fresh sentiments of irritation against the petty hardships 
of a life in diplomacy upon limited means. And yet 
those walks were not without compensation. Had I 
been engaged in the writing of books in those dim days, 
I might even have considered such small economies as the 
want of a conveyance a direct intervention of Providence 
in my affairs. For it was upon one such walk to the 
station — I had chanced to thread my way, of a July 
morning, through the "Prater" — that I first encoun- 
tered her who was known in Vienna by no other name 
than that of " die maskirte Dame," " the masked lady." 
If ever there were a fitting subject for a romance, surely 
" die maskirte Dame " supplied it! 

Never shall I forget the impression made upon me by 
the encounter with that strange and sinister personality, 
there in the full glare of a summer's noontide in the 
radiant Prater, itself ablaze with flowers and almost 
deserted at that hour of the day — as is so often the 
case with the parks of many great cities. 
35 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

The very suddenness of the apparition, too, had in it 
something peculiarly disquieting. I was walking quickly 
along, eyes on the ground, when, suddenly, the clinking 
of a horse's bit made me look up, to see, on the tan-path 
on the further side of the roadway, a woman riding 
towards me at a walk; she was looking straight before 
her and her face — for such I took it to be at first sight 
— was such as one sees only in one's dreams. It was like 
the face of a corpse, a waxen yellow, with very bright 
red lips fixed in an immovable smile; the eyes, though, 
brown and small, like buttons, were full of a restless- 
ness that was dreadful to see, set as they were in that 
dead face. As we drew nearer one another, the " mas- 
kirte Dame " turned her head in my direction and, for a 
second, our eyes met. Let me say at once, by the way, 
that my first actual impression had been that I was not 
looking upon a woman at all, but upon some super- 
natural thing. It was not until she had put her horse — 
a beauty — into a canter and was some distance away 
from me that I remembered what I had heard of such 
a mysterious person. She was said to be the wife of a 

certain Baron , and the victim of some frightful 

accident which had disfigured her beyond all possibility 
of her ever again letting her face be seen by mortal eyes. 
Her practice was to ride for hours at a time in the Prater, 
or, in bad weather, in the great riding-school where, as 
I have heard, she would not infrequently tire out three, 
or even four horses in succession. 

The next year, however, we were lucky enough to be 
able to leave Vienna in a body, early in June; our choice 
36 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

of a place in the country, where, without being too far 
from the capital, we could yet be sure of a really com- 
fortable summer at moderate cost, had fallen upon the 
hamlet of Weissenbach, on the Attersee, whither, as I 
have related, Hugh and I had travelled to find quarters 
early in the spring. Although this part of the vast Aus- 
trian mountain districts has long been a favourite resort 
of the Imperial family, yet, speaking for myself, it has 
always struck me as infinitely less inviting than Tyrol. 
The people seem less prosperous, altogether, than the 
Tyrolese, whilst the mountains, themselves, of course can- 
not be compared with those, for instance, round Meran 
or Brixen. All the same they have, it must be ad- 
mitted, one singular and supremely delightful feature of 
their own — by which I refer to their extraordinary 
richness in the sweetest of flowers, the lily of the valley. 
All through the summer months the whole country about 
Weissenbach was redolent of its perfume; after rain, 
especially, the air was heavy with the acrid fragrance of 
the knee-high lilies with which the woods were literally 
carpeted. Our quarters in the old farmhouse proved 
roomy and cool; the meadow that divided us from the 
lake was a perfect garden of wild flowers, and out of It, 
I remember, there crept, every afternoon, a tame black 
snake who used to wait under my window for a drink of 
milk! As soon as he had had it he slipped away again 
towards the lake. In the water of which was reflected a 
gigantic crucifix that reared its height on the southern 
shore. For a day-nursery the children had the use of a 
cherry-orchard by the house, albeit on Sundays, they had 
37 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

to make way for the local " Schiitzverein " or rifle club 
which had no other range than this same orchard, where, 
for hours together, with the parish priest acting as 
judge, the assembled gamekeepers and chamois-hunters 
exercised their skill upon a target fastened to a tree. 
Their weapons were still almost all old-fashioned 
muzzle-loaders, but their marksmanship was certainly 
worthy of a better weapon. In watching them and 
noting the marvellous accuracy of their practice one 
could understand why, in all Austrian campaigns of 
recent history, the mountain-regiments have always had 
assigned to them the most difficult posts — notably, at 
Solferino and Sadowa, — where their French and Prussian 
adversaries had such fearful cause to remember them. 

The lake at Weissenbach was one of the deepest in 
Europe if not in the world; and, like all lakes, of course, 
deeper at its southern than at its northern end. Here, 
at the northern end, on Bavarian territory, was a coun- 
try-house belonging to Duke Karl Theodore — Duke in 
Bavaria — from the grounds of which his wife, Princess 
Maria Josefa of Portugal, with her daughters, used to 
watch the little lake steamer as it plied on its way to 
Weissenbach. So much has been written concerning 
the Duke and his wonderful ability as an oculist that I 
need hardly dwell upon that side of his character. I 
met him, once or twice, in Vienna, and the kindly face 
with its much-wrinkled brow gave me the Impression 
rather of a patient, earnest man of science than of the 
very capable soldier that he was. It seemed Impos- 
sible to connect the one with the other, the great surgeon 
38 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

with the dashing officer of Cuirassiers of 1866 and 1870. 
And yet he was one of the very " souls " of the Bavarian 
army. I cannot imagine that any member of it can have 
felt more keenly than he the late " Prussification " of 
certain details in the uniform. But the most remark- 
able member of his family is, of course, the man who 
took so prominent a part in the creation of the German 
Empire as it is to-day, the Prince Regent Luitpold, now 
in his ninety-first year. I always think of Prince Luit- 
pold, in company with his junior, the venerable Emperor 
Francis Joseph, as an example of an utterly unselfish 
man of duty. In the early eighties. Prince Luitpold 
was still comparatively young for such a man as he; his 
sixty-odd years appeared little more than early middle 
life, his youth and keenness in sport and business being 
still more than equal to those of many of his juniors. 
And yet his severest trials were to come; although his 
nephew, Prince Otto, the younger brother of King Louis 
of Bavaria, had already been confined as a madman for 
some years, yet the King himself was still sufficiently 
sane to be capable of acting as a figurehead of the Gov- 
ernment. Not until 1886 did King Louis' reason break 
down so completely as to necessitate his uncle's officially 
assuming the reins of administration as Prince Regent, 
albeit for many years he had, in reality, been directing 
the destinies of the kingdom. 

In those days of eighty-one there was a good deal of 
gossip going on in Vienna in regard to the Bavarian 
situation which, in view of the relationship of the Em- 
press Elizabeth to King Louis — in whose sanity she 
39 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

was always a firm believer — was rather a delicate ques- 
tion. Some people there were who averred that the 
King's mental condition was being " exploited " to the 
utmost by Prince Luitpold for his own personal advan- 
tage, so as to clear the way for himself to the throne; 
others, again, declared that the unfortunate monarch had 
only been allowed to retain his crown so long, in the 
interests of the Bavarian " Power behind the throne " 
who had thus been enabled to work his will without in- 
curring the odium of " a coup d'etat." At the same time 
it was well known that already, in 1875, there had been 
considerable talk of King Louis' deposition from sover- 
eignty, in favour of his younger brother, Otto; and, 
doubtless, this would have been carried into effect but 
for Prince Otto's own insanity, which compelled his being 
placed under restraint in the course of the next year. 

How far rumour was correct in ascribing the origin 
of the mental troubles of both the royal brothers to un- 
fortunate love affairs one hesitates to say. In the King's 
case I can hardly believe it, seeing that for so many 
years prior to his abdication in 1886, he had been noto- 
riously of unsound mind. His trait of hereditary insan- 
ity seems to have found Its first development far back 
in the sixties, when his naturally morose and fantastic 
nature abandoned itself to megalomania in the way of 
building fairy-palaces for himself; also his friendship 
with Wagner would appear to have gone far towards 
completing the destruction of his feeble mind, the result 
of his intimacy with the great troubadour being the com- 
plete dominion acquired over his imagination by the 
40 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

composer-poet's ravings about Siegfried, Brunhilde, and 
the other great shadowy figures of Scandinavian legend. 
To such an extent, indeed, had Wagner demoralised his 
royal patron, even so early as 1866, that the latter, 
instead of accompanying his army into Bohemia, re- 
mained in safety at Stahrenberg, occupied in reading 
his own poetry to a chosen audience of admirers; a 
few days later, the news of the defeat at Sadowa found 
him at Hohenschwangau, playing " Tristan " in a suit 
of yellow and apricot-coloured tights. To these follies 
succeeded a period of suspicion and terror of all about 
him; he became beset with a mania for hiding and secret- 
iveness. In the daytime he took to concealing him- 
self, even from the eyes of the servants, behind closed 
doors and alone with his imaginary loves, Brunhilde and 
Isolda; but his particular "flame" seems to have been 
poor Marie Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI. Of 
her he kept a bust by him where his eyes could see it 
on awakening every morning; he even went to the 
length of styling her *' my disembodied paramour." 

At the same time he had a tyrannical side to him, 
as shown by his treatment of his brother Otto in 1869, 
when he separated him by force from the young girl, a 
countess, to whom Otto had given his heart. All that 
the lovers had been guilty of consisted in having, at a 
picnic by the Tegernsee, wandered off by themselves for 
the afternoon to pick strawberries; but it was enough 
to make King Louis ruin both their lives by keeping them 
apart for ever. No one dreamed, however, of the effect 
upon Prince Otto's mind until the following year, when 
41 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

old King William of Prussia caught him ordering his 
regiment to charge a stone wall! 

To-day, by all accounts, King Otto (as he has been 
ever since his brother's tragic death at Stahrenberg, in 
1886) is as mad as ever; his days appear to be passed 
mainly in the consumption of innumerable cigarettes, and 
in shooting, from the windows of his enforced retreat, 
at the passing peasants — his weapon being loaded for 
him with blank, cartridge so that he can enjoy himself 
without hurting his subjects. Many of these latter, by 
the way, especially those of the mountain districts about 
the late King's fairy castles of Neuschwanstein and 
Hohenschwangau, still cling persistently to the belief that 
poor King Louis was put to death by his enemies — than 
which a more stupid and utterly unfounded calumny could 
hardly exist. By the way, I have often wondered how 
much truth, if any, there may have been in the rumour 
that at about the time of his death. King Louis was en- 
gaged in planning the kidnapping of the then Prince 
of Naples with the help of a number of Bavarian game- 
keepers and forest-rangers; according to these rumours 
his intention would have been to keep the son of King 
Humbert a close prisoner in some castle of the Ba- 
varian Highlands until the boy's father should have 
consented to the restoration of the Papal Dominions to 
Pope Leo XIII. Such an idea, if indeed he really en- 
tertained it, speaks eloquently of King Louis' mental 
condition ! 

To return, however, to that summer of eighty-one 
at Weissenbach. We were not the only diplomatists 
42 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

there, Count Zuylen, the Dutch minister, having also 
taken up his abode In the neighbourhood for the holidays. 
With him were his son and the two charming daughters 
known amongst English In Vienna as the " Dutchesses," 
a play of words on their nationality. Amongst other 
visitors, too, was Princess Batthyany, who had ^been 
among the kindest of the Viennese to me during the past 
winter. As a matter of fact, of course, she was only 
Viennese " by residence," being In other ways Hun- 
garian. Her husband, Edmond Batthyany, was at the 
Austrian embassy In London; a kinsman of his was the 
Prince Louis who was implicated in the Hungarian 
troubles of 1848 and came to an untimely end under 
Baron Haynau's administration of that misguided coun- 
try. According to tradition, It was some woman of the 
unfortunate Prince Louis' family who uttered the mem- 
orable curse upon the head of the Emperor Francis 
Joseph — although I question the truth of the story. 

The Batthyanys were particularly Interesting to me In 
view of their being such typical examples of those fabled 
Hungarian magnates of whom I had heard so much and 
seen so little prior to my stay in Austria. Princess 
Batthyany herself, although not by birth quite the equal 
of her husband, nevertheless always Impressed me 
greatly as a person far removed In every way from the 
everyday world of modern politics and affairs. As a 
little girl she had passed through that dreadful time of 
1 848-1 849 in Hungary, her father's home being at 
Rechnltz In the " Comital " of Elsenberg. But the 
subject of 1849 w^s naturally a forbidden one in her 
43 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

presence on account of its very painful associations 
with the family of her husband. Indeed, It was so 
with almost all the Hungarians of one's acquain- 
tance; scarcely a single house of eminence but had 
contributed in some way or another to the tragedy 
of that year. One of the very few participators in the 
rebellion to escape scathless was old Count Andrassy, 
who was destined, in after days, to become so eminent a 
public servant of the empire. It was to Andrassy that 
the Emperor Francis Joseph, in 1878, made the delight- 
fully naive remark, " Ah, my dear Andrassy, I am in- 
deed glad that I did not hang you in forty-nine ! " Had 
Andrassy, however, been of the number of those who 
fell into Baron Haynau's hands, after Arthur Goergey's 
surrender at Vilagos in the August of 1849, he would, 
doubtless, have fared very differently. The temper of 
the Austrian commander had been deeply stirred, only 
some few months earlier, by the revolt of the Italians 
in Brescia and the loss of his great personal friend, 
Count Nugent, who was mortally wounded in the assault 
on the town. 

Speaking of Haynau, it is a strange thing that he 
should be so universally held up to public detestation 
by historians, on a charge of doing exactly the same 
things, in the course of his disagreeable duty, that the 
military leaders of the countries to which those same 
historians belong have never shrunk from doing under 
the same circumstances. The merest love of *' fair 
play " compels one to ask what difference there is, for 
instance, between Haynau's severities in Hungary and 
44 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

those of the French Government during and after the 
Coup d'J^tat of 1 85 1? Of the Russians towards the 
Poles In 1863? Of the EngHsh In their suppression of 
the Indian Mutiny? Of the Americans In the Philip- 
pines? The Austrlans were not guilty either of per- 
petrating the infamous " water-cure," or of ordering 
the massacre of all males over the age of ten years, as 
was ordered by an American general In regard to the 
population of the Island of Samar In the year of grace 
1 90 1 or thereabouts. We are all human and therefore 
have, all of us, both as Individuals and nations, our faults; 
but let us remove the beam from our own eye before 
we attempt to remove the mote from that of our brother. 
Of the cases I have suggested for comparison that of the 
English in India Is the only one that can plead justifica- 
tion, in the fact of the horrors (that called for punish- 
ment in kind) perpetrated by Asiatics Incapable of 
understanding the ordinary generosity of their rulers. 

As to Baron Haynau, none of those who had known 
and served under him considered him entirely sane; his 
circumstances, all through life, were anything but cal- 
culated to make of him an impartial judge either of 
rebels or of the influences of which they might have 
been the victims. All his life long the man chafed 
under the fate that had caused him to be born Into 
the world the natural son of a sovereign; never, in 
his dealings with other men, could Julius Jakob von 
Haynau quite throw off the thought of v/hat should 
have been due from them to himself had things been 
but a little different at his birth. With him the Divine 
45 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Right of Kings was, as it were, a royal outcast in his 
own person; and it was this sense of an outraged roy- 
alty in himself that goaded him into a bitterness 
which found its vent and expression in a fierce hatred of 
rebellion in any form. In mind and heart he suffered 
constantly; granted that he was of a morbid constitu- 
tion, mentally, yet his unhappiness was none the less 
real on that account. There is a sketch of him, made 
on a Danube steamer, in 1851, a year before his death, 
which haunts one's memory — the drawing is that of a 
grimly decrepit figure leaning upon a heavy walking- 
stick and dressed in baggy, civilian clothes that hang 
loosely on the attenuated frame. From beneath one of 
the hideous, peaked caps then in fashion for travellers, 
the face of the man looks out with a sardonic stoicism 
upon the world that he despised for its fear of him. 
There is contempt in every line of that haggard, sick 
face with its extraordinary moustaches that fall in prodi- 
gious length from beneath the hooked nose down on 
to the shrunken chest. A mortally-stricken beast of prey, 
one would say, reduced by age and illness to brooding 
in its lair; a dying wolf to which its enemies dare not 
come too close until the last spark of its ferocious energy 
shall have left it. That he had courage none may 
deny, seeing how, alone, save for one companion, he 
faced the mob of Barclay and Perkins' enraged em- 
ployes when they set upon him during his visit to Lon- 
don in 1850; it was only as by a miracle that he 
escaped from them at all. 

Moreover, if retribution were necessary for his deeds 
46 



IN AND OUT OF BAVARIA 

in Italy and Hungary, it was certainly imposed upon 
Haynau; during all the last years of his life he was 
completely shunned by his fellow-men. Some one who 
witnessed an instance of this used to tell how, once, 
in travelling, Haynau was recognised in the dining- 
room of an hotel in Austria, and that, instantly, an un- 
mistakable manifestation of disapproval of his presence 
on the part of the company compelled his withdrawal. 
But perhaps the most signal proof of how he was re- 
garded among the men best able to judge him, his fellow- 
officers of the Austrian army, was furnished by the 
fact that Count Nugent, dying of his wounds received 
in the storming of Brescia — upon the inhabitants of 
which Haynau had inflicted such severities for their 
revolt — bequeathed the greater part of his private for- 
tune, if not, indeed, the whole of it, to the town, by 
way of reparation for his superior officer's harshness. 
Also, Benedek, whose knighthood was never sullied by 
stain of any kind, refused an advantageous offer of staff 
employment under Haynau when the latter was after- 
wards sent to Hungary — albeit in so doing he sacrificed 
certain promotion and a substantial increase in pay. 

To return to the point from which I started on this 
long digression — the mountain districts about Weissen- 
bach were, as I have said, very different in some ways 
from Tyrol where, some years later, I was destined to 
spend a good deal of time. There was nothing of the 
same permanent country society at Weissenbach as there 
was in the neighbourhood either of Meran or Brixen. 
Nor were the actual features of the landscape nearly 
47 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

so grand as the southwesterly highlands of Tyrol. 
Nevertheless, there were occasional compensations 
which amply atoned for any normal lack of the pic- 
turesque; by this I mean the amazing storms of thunder 
and lightning peculiar to upper Austria with its natural 
lightning-conductors of bare, limestone heights (for the 
most part too precipitous for snow), and its great sheets 
of stagnant water. Indeed, I think that one such storm 
that I saw there, that summer, was quite the most 
terrific of its kind that I can remember. Never, until 
then, had I beheld lightning that seemed to roll over the 
ground like huge globes of mercury; nor had I had, 
before, the experience of watching what appeared to be 
a ball of fire fall from an inky sky into the middle of 
an equally inky lake with a hissing splash that was 
heard a mile away and more. By the way, was it not 
the late Mr. Du Maurier who said that the sense of 
smell was the most powerful of all aids to memory? 
Because, if so, I think he was unquestionably right; 
this, by the way, apropos of the smell of rain which, 
with that of lilies of the valley, will always take me back 
to Austria and its mountains; they are inseparably con- 
nected, too, in my mind with two other such old sweet 
smells, those of cherry-wood and of the fresh-cut hay 
as it lies drying in the sun on the lower pastures before 
being stacked for the winter. Aids to memory, indeed, 
but we pay for them too dear; they tear open every 
wound that the heart has suffered — and forgotten till 
some such unexpected breath of perfume sets it aching 
with new homesickness for a home that exists no more. 
48 



Ill 

SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

A House Divided against Itself — Croatia and Hungary — Wooden Soldiers 
and M. de Bonaparte's "youngster" — Archduke John and Tyrol — 
"The Old Colours Last the Best" — Hapsburg Eccentricities — An In- 
convenient Member of the Family and His Mysterious End — The Em- 
peror' s Reception Day — The Story of Murat — A Headless Corpse — 
The Fall of Mettemich — Traditions of Diplomacy — " Accidents Will 
Happen ' ' — The Afterward of a Pitiful Tragedy. 

ONE of the strangest peculiarities of the Austrian 
Imperial family was still, in 1881, the division of 
its members into widely differing national sympathies. 
As the empire contains some twelve or fourteen nation- 
alities of varying political and social outlook as well 
as of differing tongues, this peculiarity was in itself 
of no small importance to the general situation of the 
Austria-Hungarian monarchy. Of the sons of one 
father, the fate of the eldest might have placed him for 
life in the midst of influences more or less distinctly 
Austrian and German, whilst his younger brothers might 
be equally imbued with sentiments as strongly Czech 
or Magyar, as the case might be. Each brother, if he 
married and had sons, bequeathed his personal sym- 
pathies to them, so that they sometimes became even 
more Austrian or Hungarian or Bohemian than the 
natives themselves. 

49 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Archduke Joseph, whose father had been the Palatine 
or Viceroy of Hungary, was an instance of this, his 
half-brother, Stephen, having succeeded their father as 
Palatine in 1847. It was Archduke Stephen who, it will 
be remembered, led the Hungarian army in the autumn 
of the following year, 1848, against the Croatians who, 
under the leadership of Baron Jellacic, had risen in 
revolt against their Magyar oppressors; the latter, who 
had always looked upon Croatia as an appanage, less of 
the Austrian Crown than of the Hungarian, had re- 
fused to extend equal political rights with their own to the 
Croatians, despite the fact that they, the Hungarians 
themselves, were at the time on the eve of an armed 
struggle with Austria for equal rights with Germans 
in Hungary ! 

It is quite possible that Croatia might have been 
compelled by Austria to submit to Hungary on con- 
dition of Hungary's abandoning her attitude of 
independence towards Austria; in 'fact, it looked as 
though Croatia must inevitably be thrown as a sop to 
Hungary. And then suddenly the family divisions of the 
House of Hapsburg came to the rescue of the plucky 
southern Slavs. The matter would seem to have been 
settled by the Archduchess Sophie, mother of the present 
Emperor, who preferred the Croats to their oppressors, 
the factious Hungarians. She herself, moreover, was 
personally interested in the Croatian cause by reason of 
her friendship for the Jellacic family whose devotion 
to the Austrian Imperial house was well known. The 
result was the nomination of Baron Joseph Jellacic to 
50 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

the office of " Banus," or Governor of Croatia, at the 
instance of Archduchess Sophie and her partisans. 

At the same time Jellacic was empowered to attack 
and overthrow the Hungarians who were advancing 
against Croatia from Budapesth in the belief that the 
Court party entirely acquiesced in the crushing of the 
rebellious " Banus " and his compatriots. Nor did the 
Palatine, Archduke Stephen, so much as even suspect the 
secret support given to Jellacic from the Hofburg until, 
as the two armies neared each other by Lake Balaton, 
he sent a message over into the Croatian lines with a 
request that Jellacic would open up negotiations in order 
to avoid bloodshed. In answer the " Banus " sent back 
to say that, " Unless the Palatine brings me an as- 
surance and a guarantee that the Hungarian Government 
is at one upon all points with that of Austria, it will 
be of no use to attempt any negotiations whatsoever." 
Perceiving something of the hidden truth behind these 
words, Archduke Stephen resigned his command at once 
and withdrew to join the Imperial family at Vienna. 
The detested subjection to Hungary was averted for 
the moment, but it was finally forced upon Croatia in 
i860. 

" My " Archduke Joseph, the brother of Archduke 
Stephen, was the nephew of two of Austria's best known 
and most popular royalties, the Archdukes Charles — 
by many considered, after Prince Eugene and Marshal 
Radetzky, the greatest soldier in the history of the na- 
tion — and John whose life was spent for the greater 
part in Tyrol, a typical, simple Tyroler, at the further 
51 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

end of the empire from his elder half-brother, Archduke 
Joseph, the Hungarian par excellence. Of his uncles, 
Charles and Charles' elder brother Ferdinand — after- 
wards Grand Duke of Tuscany — Archduke Joseph had 
a quaint story to tell. 

One day in the year 1778, when the two brothers, 
aged nine and seven, respectively, were playing with a 
box of wooden soldiers in an ante-room of the grand- 
ducal palace at Florence, there entered a gentleman who 
had a little boy, his son, with him, to pay his respects 
to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the father of the two 
brothers, and later the Emperor Leopold 11. After wait- 
ing some minutes in the ante-room, the stranger was sum- 
moned to the Grand Duke's study, and departed, leaving 
behind him his son, a sallow, aggressive child with fine 
grey eyes and a prematurely serious expression. 

In his father's absence, the boy amused himself by 
joining the two small royalties in their mimic warfare 
on the carpet; gradually, however, to their displeasure, 
he began to get the better of them, his toy cannon — 
which he worked vigorously — mowing down their sol- 
diers as fast as they could set them up. At last, when a 
quarrel was imminent and the little Archdukes were on 
the point of pummelling their adversary, they were dis- 
turbed by the return of his father accompanied by the 
kindly Grand Duke in person. 

" Eh, but your youngster is beginning well. Monsieur 

de Bonaparte," he laughed, " I see he has been outman- 

oeuvering my sons while we have been talking in there. 

Well, good luck to him — I trust you will have no further 

52 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

trouble in getting him into the establishment at Brienne, 
now that our friends, the heralds, are satisfied about 
him!" 

For, there had been a good deal of difficulty in con- 
vincing the French heralds of the nobility of their future 
emperor's descent without proof of which young Bona- 
parte could not obtain admittance to the military school; 
only upon the Grand Duke's personal recommendation, 
indeed, was he admitted at all. 

The lesson of the wooden soldiers was taken deeply 
to heart by Archduke Charles, who showed that he 
knew his business better when next he found himself 
pitted against his former merciless opponent (and 
nephew to be ! ) in 1 809 at Essling and Aspern. As Napo- 
leon said, " Those who did not see the Austrians fight 
at Aspern have never seen real fighting." Archduke 
Charles took as deeply to heart his second decisive de- 
feat — that of Wagram — at the greatest of all soldier's 
hands, and his subsequent disgrace by his brother, the 
Emperor Francis; but his military abilities were amply 
transferred to his son. Archduke Albrecht, the victor 
of Custozza. 

Archduke John, who married (like the sensible man 
he was, for love) Anna Plochel, a beautiful girl of the 
people, and left an only son, Franz, Count of Meran, 
will be for ever bound up in the affection of Tyrol with 
the great patriot of the country, Andreas Hofer. To- 
gether they bore the weight of the struggle against the 
French and the Bavarians, the Archduke on the southern 
side of the Alps, and Hofer in Tyrol itself. What good 
53 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Archduke John suffered by the handing over of his be- 
loved country to Marshal Mortier, — and from the 
Emperor Francis' base abandonment of Hofer, whose 
execution by the French he permitted without so much 
as a protest, — one can hardly fall to Imagine. After 
Tyrol had been made over by Napoleon to his ally the 
King of Bavaria, the latter undertook to make him- 
self popular with the inhabitants by mixing among them 
in the Austrian fashion. His favourite method was to 
attend the rifle-shooting competitions and to bestow the 
prizes. These competitions have always taken place on 
Sunday afternoons; any one may enter, and the village 
priest acts as judge. On one of these occasions, the 
Bavarian monarch, in bestowing the prize — a rosette 
of the Bavarian colours — remarked that he trusted the 
recipient would grow as fond of the Bavarian blue and 
white as he had doubtless been of the Austrian black 
and yellow in days gone by. To this the prize-winner, 
an elderly man, replied, scratching his head: — " Na, 
your Majesty, it 's like this — when I hang up the rosette 
in my chimney nook It will soon look just the same as 
the other to me. The blue will soon turn to black and 
the white to yellow with the fire-smoke. It 's my belief 
that the old colours last the best ! " 

The line of Hapsburg-Lorraine from which sprang 
the Archduke Joseph of my acquaintance as well as his 
cousin, Ferdinand, the last Grand Duke of Tuscany, 
another friend of those days, is notable for the excep- 
tional brilliancy — and sometimes, as in the case of 
Archduke Ferdinand's youngest brother, Archduke John 
54 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

Salvator, the " Johann Orth " of such ill-starred celeb- 
rity, the eccentricity too — of its members. 

It was at a " Bal bei Hof," as far as I remember, 
that I first met Archduke John Salvator, a short, wiry 
man with a small beard and thick moustache that en- 
tirely failed to hide the unmistakable Bourbon under- 
lip; had he been older and worn spectacles, he might 
have been taken for Archduke Albrecht. His eyes 
were rather remarkable for a look of uncertain ob- 
stinacy, as though he were at once eager, yet unsure of 
his purpose. For this peculiarity, there was no account- 
ing, but his underlip was more than explained by the 
fact that his mother was a granddaughter of old King 
Ferdinand of Naples, the friend of Nelson and the 
Hamiltons in the bloody days of 1799. It may not be 
the popular view, but, for myself, I cannot help thinking 
that that same King Ferdinand has been made somewhat 
of a scapegoat for the doings of that time; if, on the face 
of it, he were guilty of undue harshness towards his 
rebellious subjects, it seems to me that some other people 
who were quite as guilty, have escaped much of the odium 
of their responsibilities. 

But to return to Archduke John Salvator. In 1881 
he was known as one of the most retiring of all the Arch- 
dukes; a serious soldier and something of a musician, 
who preferred his own society to that of the Viennese 
world, generally speaking. He was then a major-gen- 
eral of infantry and, by all accounts, an extremely prom- 
ising officer; also, if the gossip were right, a dissatisfied 
and restless character, with opinions of his own upon the 
55 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

conduct of military affairs, — opinions that would, sooner 
or later, vent themselves in active measures should they 
find an opportunity for doing so. He seemed to take 
more interest in the younger members of the Imperial 
family than in their seniors, his marked preference 
being for the Archduke Rudolf, the youthful heir to 
the throne. 

If Archduke Johann Salvator had any other partial- 
ity, it was for children, foremost among them the little 
twelve-year-old Archduchess Louise, the daughter of his 
brother, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who has, since 
then, as Crown Princess of Saxony, been the central 
figure of so desolating a domestic tragedy. 

Who would have dreamed that the shy, self-centred 
infantry officer of those days was destined for what now 
appears to have been, without reasonable doubt, the 
dreadfully sad end that awaited him off the desolate 
coast of South America? When I saw him he was only 
thirty years of age and eight years were yet to pass before 
he found his fate. He had long been in search of some 
one with whom he could fall in love and marry; but there 
was no girl of his own rank to be found for him on those 
lines; eligible princesses, yes, plenty of them, but none 
who attracted him. So he put the thought of Love away 
from him until it should find him out and give him what 
he desired; and, in the meantime, he turned his attention 
to pressing, openly, for army reform — a dangerous 
subject in any country and particularly so, at that time, 
in his own. 

Later on, the publication of his pamphlet " Drill or 
56 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

Education " so exasperated the authorities that, in 
1883, he was transferred in disgrace to the garrison of 
Linz, whence nothing much was heard of him for three 
years. During that time, he lived carefully within the 
proper limits of his office as a major-general, and showed 
no signs of any recurring disposition towards misplaced 
initiative. But not for long; in 1886, on Prince Alex- 
ander of Battenberg's resignation from the post of 
Bulgarian ruler. Archduke John Salvator, from Linz, 
offered himself to the Bulgarian people in the capacity 
of their prince — with a political programme so un- 
Austrian that his own family was furiously angry with 
him, and, when he resigned his candidature in favour of 
the present " Tsar of All the Bulgars," deposed him 
from his generalship in the army. Thereupon, he seized 
the occasion to lay aside his sword for ever and devote 
himself to pursuits more congenial to his tastes than 
soldiering in time of peace. The only honour he could 
not resign was the Order of the Golden Fleece, but he 
shed all the others attached to his royal birth when, a 
few years later, he married the lovely little actress, 
Ludmilla Stubel, chartered a ship called the Sainte Mar- 
guerite, and sailed for Buenos Ayres with a load of 
cement! His wife accompanied him and the port was 
reached safely, but they never made another in this 
world. On the 12th of July, 1890, they left Buenos 
Ayres for Valparaiso, intending to round Cape Horn, 
as all sailing vessels must, the navigation of the Straits 
of Magellan being too complicated for anything but 
steamers. A few days after their departure from Buenos 
57 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Ayres a terrific storm broke over the South Atlantic 
and engulfed the Sainte Marguerite with all on board. 
No sign of her or any of her crew has ever been seen 
since ; search after search was made by the Austrian and 
Chilean Governments, their cruisers exploring every yard 
of coast and all the bleak islands that lie off it; the mis- 
sionaries instituted a search of their own, and had any 
trace been left of the unfortunate Archduke and his 
companions, they would have found it, their knowledge 
both of the coast and inland districts being exception- 
ally complete. Twenty years after the disaster the 
Archduke John Salvator, otherwise known as Johann 
Orth, was officially proclaimed deceased, and his prop- 
erty divided among his legal heirs. One more in the long 
list of tragedies that have fallen upon the unhappy 
House of Austria ! 

Speaking of Archduke John Salvator's family resem- 
blance to his ancestor, Ferdinand of Naples and the two 
Sicilies, reminds me of a seriously disputed point in his 
features — to-wit, his underlip. As a matter of fact, the 
Bourbon lip is said to have first been introduced into 
the House of Hapsburg as far back as 1440 through 
the Emperor Frederick IV who inherited it from his 
Polish mother, Cymburga, daughter of the Duke of 
Mazovia. The Emperor Frederick it was, moreover, 
who invented for himself and his successors the famous 
monogram A. E. I. O. U., which is found on everything 
belonging to him, his pottery, his books, and even on 
his monument in the Stefanskirche. Nobody seems to 
be quite sure what the letters once stood for, but here are 
58 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

some of the accepted meanings of the riddle : — " Aquila 
Electa Juste Omnia Vincit " (The justly elected eagle 
conquers all) ; " Austriae Est Imperare Orbi Universo " 
or in German, " Alles Erdreich 1st Oesterreich Unter- 
than " — that is to say, "All the Earth is subject to 
Austria," which, as the " Bab Ballads " (or is it the 
" Bon Gaultier "?) puts it " is pretty, but I don't know 
what it means! " 

And yet it is strange how utterly dissimilar are the two 
lines of Hapsburg and Sicily — in almost every other 
respect but this and one other, namely, a delightfully 
democratic simplicity and kindliness in the little things 
of daily life, a trait as marked in the present venerable 
Emperor to-day as it was in his great-great uncle by 
marriage, the much-abused Ferdinand I of Naples, a 
hundred years ago and more. To this day — apart from 
questions of Court procedure — the Austrian Imperial 
family is the most genuinely accessible and, as the Ger- 
mans say, " gemiithlich " (there is no English word to 
express it) of all the reigning houses of the world, 
including even the occupants of presidential palaces In 
various republics. The Emperor's weekly reception day 
is an instance of this, when he sits for hours at a time 
listening to the complaints and petitions of all classes of 
his subjects. None so poor or humble but their Emperor 
receives them as a father does his children; he sits on 
one side of a table and, if they wish, they may occupy 
the chair set on the other side and so be at their ease. 
There is no one else present. If there be any rich people 
among those awaiting audience, the probability is that 
59 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

they may have to wait the longest. It is a strange col- 
lection of humanity that fills the Emperor's ante-room 
on these occasions — peasants to complain of grasping 
landlords or to ask for help in difficulties; priests, sol- 
diers, farmers; a young fellow asking for some govern- 
ment employment the better to support his parents or 
marry his sweetheart; every kind of sorrow, hope, 
anxiety, or ambition is brought there by them to their 
Emperor. And never does he refuse, if he can avoid it, 
to help them. How different from the case In some 
countries, where the Crown is no more a party of the 
national life than are the national monuments! 

In other ways, too, the Emperor Francis Joseph is 
very, very dear to his people; not only does he actually 
share their joys and sorrows in time of peace, but, in 
time of war he has taken equal physical risks with the 
humblest soldier in the ranks. No one has forgotten 
how, in the darkest hours of June 24, 1859, the Em- 
peror in person led his cavalry against the French and 
Sardinian artillery and infantry; nor has his cry to his 
soldiers on that day been forgotten — " I, too, am a 
married man with a wife and son at home! " In every 
sense, Francis Joseph has always been what Princess 
Metternich called *' a real " Sovereign. She it was, by 
the way, who, on being taken to task by a Frenchwoman 
for criticising the Empress Eugenie for smoking, was 
reminded, at the same time — " And what about the 
Empress of Austria — she even wnokes big cigars! 
What do you say to that? " 

** Oh, nothing at all, of course," was the reply. "My 
60 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

Empress has a right to do as she thinks best in such 
things. But, then — she is a real Empress, you see! " 

In Ferdinand I of Naples, the family trait of good- 
humoured simplicity showed itself rather differently. 
He was simply a Neapolitan idler, nothing more nor 
less, whose one accomplishment was trimming lamps. 
A great part of his day was passed, both in Naples and 
at Caserta, in the lamp-closet; for the lamps of that 
time took each nearly an hour to prepare and to light 
— they were just such as I remember in my childhood 
at Palazzo Odescalchi, Contrary to the widely accepted 
notion, King Ferdinand was not cruel, in the sense that 
it gave him any pleasure to witness, or be the cause 
of, suffering, whether human or animal; he was simply 
physically indifferent to the suffering of others. If, at 
times, he would appear to have been harsh or blood- 
thirsty, it was due to this and to fear rather than to any 
innate cruelty. 

The affair of Murat is curiously illustrative of Fer- 
dinand's character. 

Murat, who as King of Naples under Napoleon was 
dispossessed of his throne by the Austrians at the battle 
of Tolentino, in March, 1815, took refuge first in France 
and then in Corsica to await events. During the time of 
the occupation of France by the allies after Waterloo, 
no attempt was made by them to molest him, although, 
had they wished, there can be little doubt that they 
could have had him arrested at any time. But no; 
on the contrary, every effort was made to shield him 
from publicity, and the Emperor Francis, considering 
61 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

him as a relative (through Napoleon whose sister was 
Murat's wife), offered him, in the autumn of 1815, an 
asylum in Austria for himself and his family, promis- 
ing to make over to them a suitable estate and that they 
should be treated with the deference due to their rank 
and as members of the Imperial family. This generous 
offer poor Murat was ill-advised enough to reject when 
It reached him; his wife had already availed herself 
of it and had gone to Austria with her children. Her 
husband, as we know, left Corsica secretly, on the first 
of October, 18 15, for Calabria in the southern part 
of his former kingdom, with the idea of regaining his 
throne by means of a popular uprising. 

As we know, too, he failed and was taken prisoner 
and confined in the Castle of Pizzo, there to be tried by 
a courtmartial acting under orders from King Ferdinand 
at Naples. 

And now was shown the contrast between the two men 
— the easy-going, timorous Ferdinand, and his prisoner, 
the farmer's son of Bastide Fortuniere, the successful 
cavalryman whose facile vanity had been the butt of 
smaller spirits. 

On learning that he was to be tried by courtmartial, 
Murat proffered only two demands, that a tailor might 
be sent for to make him a civilian suit of clothes in which 
to appear before the court in place of his uniform, and 
that all the eau-de-cologne available should be procured 
for his bath, a comfort he had not been able to obtain 
for some days past. He had hopes, all along, that Fer- 
dinand would spare him out of regard for his wife and 
62 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

the Emperor of Austria ; but he was fated to be cruelly 
disappointed. The trial took place in due course, the 
prisoner abstaining from sanctioning it with his pres- 
ence, and ended in his being sentenced to be shot, almost 
at once. 

Joachim Murat met his fate with perfect good man- 
ners and the unruffled urbanity of an accomplished 
cavalier; all he asked of the soldiers who formed the 
firing-party was that they would be careful not to dis- 
figure his face, but to take aim at the region of his heart. 
He, himself, gave the word to fire, and was instantly 
killed by a single volley, a few minutes after three 
o'clock on the afternoon of October 13, 18 15. His 
body was laid out in the room he had been occupying 
in the castle and a sentry was stationed outside the 
door. The sentry had not been there very long be- 
fore a young man, a civilian, carrying a carpet-bag, pre- 
sented himself, requesting admittance to the room on 
the pretext of drawing up a certificate of death to be for- 
warded to the authorities at Naples. He showed a pass 
from the commander of the citadel and was permitted to 
enter the room, the door of which he shut and locked 
behind him. It was not until towards evening that he 
issued once more, bag in hand, and walked out through 
the dusk into the town. When, towards eight o'clock, 
the commandant himself, with the local undertaker's 
men, entered the room for the purpose of placing their 
ex-King's remains in the coffin that had been constructed 
for them, they received rather a rude shock — for the 
body was headless ! 

63 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Nearly ten years passed away before the sequel of 
this mutilation was brought to light. One sunny morning 
in January, 1825, the personal attendants of old King 
Ferdinand were alarmed as hour after hour passed by 
and they were vouchsafed no sign of the King's being 
awake. At last they decided to go into his apartment; 
he must be ill, they thought, or he would, long before, 
have rung his bell for them. To their horror they 
found him all twisted up in the bedclothes, stone-dead; 
he had evidently died of a fit before he could summon 
assistance. 

Some weeks later when an inventory of the contents 
of King Ferdinand's room was taken by the marshal 
of the palace, there was discovered among them a small 
but weighty mahogany box, measuring about a foot each 
way, that had always been kept by the King in a compart- 
ment of the night-table beside his bed. It was locked; 
but they could find no key to it, and so broke it open. 
What was their amazement — to say the least of it — 
on finding, inside it, another box of thick glass contain- 
ing the head of a man — that of Joachim Murat ! King 
Ferdinand had kept it by him through the years, not, as 
some might suppose, to gloat over it, but so that he 
might have it to show in proof of Murat's death, in 
the event of any one's venturing to stir up a popular 
uprising by personifying the dead leader of so many a 
desperate venture ! 

A curious detail of Murat's checkered career was his 
visit, many years earlier, to a celebrated soothsayer in 
Paris, the famous Mademoiselle Lenormand, who warned 
64 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

him of his end, as a modern fortune-teller of Paris, 

Madame de T , is said to have warned the late 

President Faure and Chavez the aviator who met his 
death, the other day, in crossing the Alps. 

Mademoiselle Lenormand, described as a fussy little 
old woman with hair cut short, who generally wore a 
shabby braided jacket like an hussar's " dolman," was 
the person invariably consulted by Napoleon I — accord- 
ing to her own account — prior to his campaigns; she, 
it was, moreover, who foretold to Josephine her divorce. 
She survived them all, living until 1843. She is said to 
have been made use of as a police spy by Fouche — with 
how much truth, though, it is hard to tell. Murat called 
upon her, in disguise, sometime, I fancy, during the years 
1808 or 1809, when he was already King of Naples and 
was in hopes of being promoted to the throne of Spain. 
The old lady received him without comment, as though 
taking him for any ordinary citizen, and shuffled a pack 
of cards, prior to handing them to him with the usual 
request that he should cut them. This he did and turned 
up the fatal one — the King of Diamonds, better known 
as the " Grand Pendu." It must be explained that among 
the cards used by fortune-tellers the " Grand Pendu " 
is represented by a figure hanging by one foot to a gal- 
lows; it is held to betoken, invariably, a death by the 
hand of the executioner. Four times in succession did 
the disguised Murat cut the same card; each time 
Mademoiselle Lenormand quickly shuffled the pack and 
told him to cut again. At last she ceased. 

"Let me try again — just this once," pleaded her 
6S 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

client. But she shook her head and rose from the 
table. 

" No, that is enough," she returned with her habitual 
contemptuous brevity, "the seance is at an end — and 
the fee for monarchs is ten louis." 

She had recognised him at once; there was nothing 
for it but to pay, which he did, with as good a grace as 
he could muster. 

If Murat was not a great ruler — in his capacity of 
King of Naples — at least, he was a popular one, by 
comparison with his predecessor on that throne, Joseph 
Bonaparte. To his credit, Murat did what practical 
good he could for his subjects, while King Joseph con- 
fined his activities to depriving the people — in so far 
as lay in his power — of their religion, by suppressing 
one convent or monastery after another. Upon some, 
however, even Joseph and his creature, Salicetti, had not 
sufficient hardihood to lay hands, both from fear of 
Heaven and of a popular uprising. Amongst these in 
particular, was that of the Alcantarine Capuchins situ- 
ated on the Chiaja; it was this convent that sheltered 
one of the most remarkable men of that time, the poor, 
unlettered lay-brother, Fra Egidio Pontillo, whose 
supernatural powers had made him famous — very much 
against his will — all over southern Italy long before 
Joseph Bonaparte's arrival in Naples in 1806. When 
the latter heard of the Capuchin thaumaturgist and of his 
miraculous gifts, he sent for him in the intention of 
consulting him as to what the future might hold. Fra 
Egidio obeyed the summons and repaired to the Palazzo 
66 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

Capodimonte. After waiting for some time there, he 
was ushered into the presence of King Joseph of whom, 
without any preliminary, he asked : 

" Well, and what is it that you want with me? " 

Although the monarch was not unprepared for a cer- 
tain bluntness from the friar whose frank simplicity of 
speech was well known, yet he was somewhat taken back 
by the directness of this greeting. At last he contrived 
to reply with another question : 

" Tell me, Sor Frate mio," he inquired, " do you 
think I shall die on the throne? " 

*' Was your Majesty born on the throne ? " returned the 
monk, 

*'No!" 

" Then why are you anxious to die there? " 

And Joseph, under the uncomfortable impression that 
he was being made fun of, angrily dismissed Fra Egidio, 
calling him a madman ! 

Some years ago I happened to see Madame Bernhardt, 
as the *' Due de Reichstadt " in Rostand's great play, 
" L'Aiglon " in London. It was quite by chance that I 
came to find myself in the theatre that afternoon — it 
was a matinee performance — one of those chances to 
which one owes so much. In this instance I had to be 
grateful, not only for the delight of witnessing Madame 
Bernhardt's amazing artistic tour de force, but also for 
the revival of a host of old associations and memories. 
It was a strange experience for me, I confess, the struggle 
between the sympathies aroused for a particular cause 
by a great artist's skill, and the deep-rooted official and 
67 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

social prejudices of the Old Order, by which I had been 
surrounded in my married life, against that same cause 
of the Napoleonic Empire. To the men of my hus- 
band's generation, those who began their careers as 
officials immediately after the bursting of the bubble of 
new ideas, in 1848 and 1849, the rightful basis of all 
political life and of all social order was the Congress 
of Vienna of 18 14-18 15. The Congress of Vienna 
settled everything, in the opinion of all official Europe 
(which in its heart of hearts knows not a French or 
a Portuguese Republic, nor yet an United Italy — for 
this last is still, to the innermost conscience of the more 
orthodox Chanceries of Europe nothing more than a 
geographical expression). Tradition is, after religion, 
the strongest and the purest of motives in the lives of 
those whom it touches at all; to the great international 
family of practically hereditary officials — " nous 
autres " — as colleague addresses colleague over the 
heads of their individual contending and factious 
nations — the Congress of Vienna is what the Council 
of Ephesus or Nicaea is to Christianity. Those who do 
not — in heart, at least, since outward adherence is 
rarely practicable — adhere to what may be called the 
"Intentions of the Congress," labour under the great 
and very real disadvantage of never being able to obtain. 
In their dealings with the Inner ring of " true believers," 
admission to the real Interior life of that ring, its rival- 
ries and reconciliations, the common hopes and fears 
that will never fail to unite Its members in the face of 
their common enemy, as in 18 13 and 1848. In no walk 
68 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

of life more than in the little world of diplomacy have 
men come to learn that they cannot gather grapes from 
thorns or figs from thistles — and that a house divided 
against itself cannot stand. And the common enemy, 
be it said, has been the same ever since 1792 — the forces 
of novelty and political disintegration in the guise of 
Liberalism. But to go back to " L'Aiglon " and the 
characters it represents. 

The " Metternich " of M. Rostand's play struck me 
— if I may be allowed to say so — as rather an unfair 
picture of the great statesman, who had been so often 
described to me by those who had known and served 
under him in their youth. He was neither heartless nor 
cynical, but simply a practical-minded ofiicial who, — 
as so many others, however mistakenly, have done — 
persistently separated questions of business from those 
of religion. His instrumentality in bringing about the 
so-called " marriage " of his master's daughter, the 
Archduchess Marie Louise, with Napoleon, was the one 
great crime of Metternich's life with which he had to 
reproach himself — together with its consequences — 
for nearly fifty years. And he was bitterly sorry for 
it. Amongst those who had grown up under him. In the 
Viennese world of the early eighties, were several roy- 
alties and officials; and more than one elderly person — 
notably, old Prince Schwarzenberg — who belonged 
rather to Metternich's own generation than to any later. 

To such as these, Metternich was always the model 
of a statesman; If, Indeed, they condemned the morality 
of his policy In the matter of the Archduchess Marie 
69 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Louise, at least they gave him credit for the best of 
patriotic motives In regard to it. But, as even Prince 
Schwarzenberg, for Instance, was born nearly thirty 
years later than Metternich, the figure of the great man 
was also for him, as for most people, too fenced about 
with seniority and glory to be quite upon the plane of 
everyday criticism. Of Metternich, if of any man, it 
can be said that he lived upon an Olympus of his own 
creation; even in the hour of his downfall, he was greater 
than any of those about him, whether friend or foe. 

I have never heard, definitely, whose voice It was that 
shouted the words which put an end to his political career, 
in the crowded ante-room of the Hofburg that tem- 
pestuous day of 1848 — "Metternich must resign!" 

They say it was a certain Count B , from lower 

Austria, the mouthpiece of the Archduchess Sophie, the 
patroness of Jellaclc and the woman to whom more than 
to any other individual was due the reservation of the 
Austro-Hungarlan throne for her son, the present 
venerable Emperor. Truth to tell, she seems to have 
been the only statesman at that time in the country! But 
the picture of Metternich, as he heard the words and 
came calmly forward from his place among the Arch- 
dukes and officials towards the excited crowd of citizens 
at the other end of the room, is distinctly impressive; 
those who witnessed it never forgot the old man's extra- 
ordinary calm or the measured, slightly contemptuous 
dignity of his reply, accepting the popular *' fiat " : 

*' You say that my resignation alone can restore peace 
to the city — forthwith I tender It with pleasure. Good 
70 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

luck to you with your new Government, and good luck 
to — Austria! " 

It was said by those present that the revolutionaries 
were actually ashamed of themselves in the face of Met- 
ternich's composure and that one of them offered an apol- 
ogy, declaring that they had no personal grudge against 
him but only against his system. I never heard, how- 
ever, that he vouchsafed any further reply. 

Prince Schwarzenberg's own connection with the events 
of that year was principally through his cousin, Felix 
Schwarzenberg, a son of the famous field-marshal who 
contributed so largely to the success of the allied armies 
against Napoleon in 1813 and 18 14. There can surely 
have been very few people at once so detested and so 
beloved as Prince Felix Schwarzenberg, the friend and 
pupil of Metternich and Radetzky, His personality 
seems to me one of the most strikingly original to be met 
with anywhere in modern history. The gigantic height 
of him, his school-boy geniality and the fearlessness of 
his convictions, were so strangely combined with a reck- 
less disregard of public opinion and a truly perverse 
pride in outraging it, that it is a wonder how he ever 
came to be taken seriously at all. 

His celebrated love affair as a youthful diplomatist 
in London — his elopement with Lady Ellenborough — 
was a lesson to him to mend his ways; it was not long 
before she left him for Baron Venningen, who, in his 
turn, was fated to learn the same lesson of the worthless- 
ness of such intrigues — even from the point of view of 
a transitory happiness. 

71 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Felix Schwarzenberg, from the accounts of those who 
had known him, must have been endowed with the rarest 
of gifts — the faculty of being able to compel the love of 
others at will, whensoever it pleased him to do so; in a 
word, magnetism. One of his most ardent admirers. 
Baron Hiibner, who was with him in the fighting in 
Milan in March, 1848, and afterwards in Vienna when 
the revolution was put down by Windlsch-Gratz, looked 
upon Schwarzenberg as a kind of deml-god! Together 
they made their way In an open cab through the streets 
of the capital to where Prince Auersperg with a hand- 
ful of troops — some nine or ten thousand men In all — 
was making ready to retreat from the city and to join 
forces with WIndisch-Gratz's army, then about to storm 
Vienna for the Emperor. At every moment, albeit the 
cab took the least frequented by-ways, Hiibner was in 
expectation of an attack from the prowling bands of 
rebels, the same students and workmen who had been 
responsible for Count Latour's barbarous murder at the 
War Office. The cabdrlver, himself, almost refused to 
proceed; had it not been for Schwarzenberg, who com- 
pelled him by force, he would, doubtless, have turned 
back long before bringing them to their destination. As It 
was, they got through In saftey, and in three days Schwar- 
zenberg was back In Vienna with full power to take his 
revenge. But, In spite of all that has been said to the 
contrary, the victors were not so vindictive as they might 
have been; their wrath fell only upon the leaders and 
not on the misguided mass of the Viennese populace. 
Considering that WIndisch-Gratz's wife — Princess 
72 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

Marie Schwarzenberg — had been killed by a shot from 
the revolutionaries a short while earlier, in Prague, her 
husband's mildness and self-restraint were little less than 
wonderful under the circumstances. 

But I am digressing from my subject, that of the tradi- 
tions of the Congress of Vienna and their effects upon 
the men and politics of those days. If the great treaties 
that have since succeeded it, that of Vienna in 1856, of 
Nikolsburg in 1866, of Versailles in 1871, and of Berlin 
in 1878, are responsible for great changes in political 
geography, they have had far less influence than might 
be supposed upon the psychology of diplomacy — if I may 
be allowed the use of such an expression. To this day 
European diplomacy is guided rather by the traditional 
policies of certain men — Metternich, Bismarck, Beacons- 
field, and Nesselrode — than by any implicit belief in the 
abiding effect of treaties. For, as has been so clearly and 
so often made evident, treaties are of no value at all 
in comparison with the tradition and traditional sym- 
pathies and ambitions to which public men turn instinct- 
ively for guidance at all times of stress or, most espe- 
cially, of opportunity — knowing that, at the worst, and 
should the venture prove a failure, it will entail no official 
or popular disgrace, because, to follow in the footsteps 
of a nation's great dead, even mistakenly, is the first of 
claims to a proud and grateful people's affection and 
blind support. If I were a Minister for Foreign Affairs 
in any difficulty, I think I should be guided by just that 
maxim — there being, of course, no question involved of 
any wrongdoing or injustice : " Do what the national 
73 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

heroes would have done under the same circumstances; 
even if it turn out to be a failure you will do nothing but 
good. Most particularly, you will strengthen the hand of 
your Government at home — and intelligent Govern- 
ments are not ungrateful ! " 

When my husband was stationed in Dresden, for in- 
stance, the sympathies of the Saxon administration were 
sharply divided upon just this basis of tradition in regard 
to France and the threatened revival of the Napoleonic 
regime under Napoleon III — the predominance of 
France upon the Continent. The one school, that of the 
older men, who in their youth had done business with 
the great man's representatives and had had opportunity 
to study Napoleon himself, described him as a little cad 
with absolutely no manners ; these, the seniors, were the 
adherents, body and soul, of the principles of " legitimate 
monarchy " as determined by the Congress of Vienna, 
and the bitterest opponents of monarchical " parvenus " 
such as Louis Philippe and Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. 
The other party, that of Baron Beust, who had imbibed 
the opportunist Austrian doctrines of Felix Schwarzen- 
berg, could see only one thing as a political aim — the 
necessity for safeguarding Austrian supremacy in Germany 
and for the checking of all Prussian attempts to challenge 
that supremacy. To Beust and his followers, the Aus- 
trian surrender of Lombardy to France, after Solferino, 
was infinitely preferable to the acceptance by Austria 
of Prussia's offer to deter Napoleon III from further 
depredations upon Germany by moving troops against 
him on the Rhine. It was Beust, who later left the Saxon 
74 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

for the Austrian Service and, as Austrian Minister for 
Foreign Affairs in the July of 1870, wrote to the French 
Government on the outbreak of the Franco-German war 
that "Teutonic effervescence" — by which he meant 
the sympathy felt by the Austrian people at large for 
their German brothers — "prevented him from carry- 
ing out his intentions of supporting France and compelled 
him, not without reluctance, to declare Austria neutral." 

Talking of official tradition, however, reminds me 
irresistibly of an occasion in our own diplomatic service 
upon which its dangers were as clearly demonstrated as 
have ever been its advantages. 

It was in the summer of 1878, just after the Berlin 
Congress had dissolved. Its work was accomplished 
to all intents and purposes, and all that there remained 
to do was to exchange the ratification of its terms be- 
tween the Governments of the various signatories. 
Until this exchange of ratifications should have taken 
place, it was impossible, of course, for the terms of the 
treaty to be made public. There had been great difficul- 
ties all along in reconciling the many conflicting inter- 
ests of the contracting powers, notably those of England 
and Russia as represented by Lord Beaconsfield and 
Prince Gortschakoff; more than once the Congress had 
been on the point of breaking up, as a result of the differ- 
ences between those two great men, when only the con- 
summate good sense and tact of Prince Bismarck saved 
the situation and intervened to avert another disastrous 
war. Once, indeed, it happened that the maps of the 
plenipotentiaries were set for them, with their other 
75 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

papers, in the wrong places at the great oval table, 
through the stupidity — or untimely sense of humour — 
of some subordinate official. The consequence was that 
Lord Beaconsfield found himself examining Prince 
Gortschakoff's map and Prince Gortschakoff, Lord 
Beaconsfield's. Now on Gortschakoff's map there was 
marked the utmost delimitation of territory that Russia 
would concede, and on Beaconsfield's the least that 
England's representative was authorised to accept on 
behalf of her protegee, Turkey. 

The result may be imagined; the mutual embarass- 
ment and the decorous fury of each of the opponents 
on thus learning the extent of his adversary's designs. 
Lord Beaconsfield even went so far as to order a special 
train to take him on his way home and was only dis- 
suaded from his purpose by Bismarck's personal influence. 

At last, however, all was in readiness for the final 
act, the interchange of ratifications; only a few days 
more and the negotiations would become a " fait ac- 
compli " — when they were all but rendered abortive 
by what is known as the M Case. 

It had, until then, been customary in the Foreign Office 
in London, to employ " outside help " when pressure 
of business demanded some lightening of the burden of 
extra work upon the shoulders of the ordinary staff of 
clerks employed there. In this instance the accumula- 
tion of work was such as to necessitate this means of 
coping with it; and among those called in to help was 

a young man of the name of M . I do not give 

his name in full because he may be still alive; also, quite 
76 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

possibly, he may have been innocent of the crime for 
which he was held responsible. 

The exchange of ratifications was to take place on 
August 13, 1878; the utmost secrecy was essential in 
copying the form of ratification from the treaty itself; 
and the person charged with this very responsible task 

was M . I do not remember for certain, at this 

moment, but I believe the Foreign Office had borrowed 
his services from the Postmaster General. 

When all the world of London came down to break- 
fast one morning in those weeks, what was its amaze- 
ment when its eyes fell upon the columns of a certain 
paper containing the exact text of the all-momentous 
treaty — some days, two or three, before it could have, 
any possible right to be there! 

As may be supposed, there was consternation in offi- 
cial circles; inquiries followed in the hour, but all to no 
avail. The thing was done; the newspaper in question 
had made an undeniable " scoop," and retribution, swift 

and relentless, descended upon the unhappy M . 

His defence was that the document had been purloined 
from his desk during his absence; but it ended in his 
utter downfall. He was ruined beyond recovery; and 
although he afterwards published a pamphlet to prove 
his innocence of selling the information, as he was ac- 
cused of doing, he never succeeded in rehabilitating 
himself. 

Since then the tradition of employing " outsiders " in 
the Foreign Office has been abandoned. I have often 

wondered what became of the luckless Mr. M ; if 

77 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

he was innocent, as he may well have been, one cannot 
help being sorry for him. 

And now to return to Vienna and my duty to my In- 
dulgent reader of trying to record the further impres- 
sions of my stay there. 

We had not long been established in our apartment 
in the Karntner Ring when the festivities in connection 
with the Crown Prince's wedding came as a brilliant finish 
to the season of 1 880-1881. I have written of these in 
another volume and will pause here only to say one or 
two things which I feel ought to be said in regard to the 
tragedy with which that marriage of Crown Prince 
Rudolph's was destined, some years later, to terminate. 

In the first place, the causes that ultimately induced 
Archduke Rudolph to destroy himself were not alto- 
gether, even at the time of his wedding, unknown to 
certain people in Vienna; at all Courts there are persons 
with long memories for every pitiful scandal — and still 
longer tongues. The least, most human transgressions 
of crowned heads are twisted out of all proportion, and 
no criminal but receives more mercy, more allowance made 
for temptation than those same rulers, men or women. 
Of late there have been constant rumours in the press 
of more than one country to the effect that Emperor 
Francis Joseph will, one day, make known to the world 
the facts in connection with his son's death; let me say 
at once that that is Impossible; not because his Majesty 
is unacquainted with them, but because he is a father, 
an anointed sovereign, and a Christian gentleman. 

Secondly, there is absolutely no truth in the assertion 
78 



SOVEREIGNS, TREATIES, AND TRADITIONS 

that any but himself laid violent hands upon Archduke 
Rudolph on the night of his death; to maintain the 
contrary is to maintain a diabolical lie. Nor, besides 
the Archduke himself, was any gentlemen even present, 
that night, at Mayerling, save only his brother-in-law, 
Prince Philip of Coburg (the husband of his wife's un- 
fortunate sister) and Count Hoyos, who brought the 
news of the tragedy to the Empress at Vienna the next 
day. Neither Hoyos nor Philip of Coburg set eyes on 
the Archduke, alive, after he had sent down word 
to them from his rooms upstairs to the effect that they 
were to excuse him from joining them at dinner. They 
had all three been out shooting together, and the Crown 
Prince came home earlier than his companions to Mayer- 
ling; not until the locked door of his bedroom was 
broken open, the next morning, between seven and eight 
o'clock, did they see him again where he lay, dead by 
his own hand, close to the dead girl whom he had loved 
not wisely but too well. 

And of Marie Vetsera, she upon whose memory so 
many either in ignorance or in their own vileness, have 
seen fit to cast every base and cowardly aspersion, I 
would say this : — however lamentable may have 
been her one poor sin, it was whiteness itself by com- 
parison with the sin of those who have taken it upon 
their self-righteous selves to be her accusers. She sinned, 
true; yet not as they accuse her of having done, shame- 
lessly and for love of sin, but as the hapless great lady 
that she was — with no thought of herself but only 
for the man she loved so mistakenly. May they both 
79 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

have found, elsewhere, that mercy denied them by 
men! 

Once for all, let the public put the whole affair out of 
its head, in favour of its own business; and let those 
who, unhappily for themselves, have come by any knowl- 
edge of the truth, place upon their lips the seal of secrecy 
for the love of God and of their mothers — should they 
chance to read these words, I feel sure they will under- 
stand and that they will grant this supplication of one 
who remembers Marie in the flower of her innocent youth. 



80 



IV 

IN POLISH PRUSSIA 

A Haunted Country and a Lonely Ride — In the Tracks of the Grand Army — 
The "Extra Post" — Unexpected! — Italy in Prussia — A Devout 
General — Church-going under Difficulties — A Ghostly Chair — The 
"Starost's" Boots — A Consoiable Widower — The Last of the Old 
Guard — Polish Poets and the Polish Jeanne d'Arc — A Family of 
Exiles — Lord Palmerston's Prophecy — The Foe within the Gates. 

I HAD long been desirous of making acquaintance with 
my sister Annie's home in West Prussia when at last 
the chance came for me to visit her there early one 
spring, some years after the death of her husband as a 
result of the wound he had received at the battle of 
Gravelotte. When I got out of the train at the little 
wayside station of Czerwinsk it was late at night, and, 
to my dismay, the telegram I had sent to inform Annie 
of my coming had apparently miscarried, for there was 
no sign of any one to meet me or of any conveyance 
in which to transport me — to say nothing of my effects 
— over the mud-encumbered miles — the month being 
February and the season an early one — to Lesnian. 
After laying my case before the station master I stood 
there waiting for what might betide, my sympathies 
going out with a hitherto unknown comprehension to the 
unhappy men who had passed that way, eighty years 
before, footsore and frozen and starving in the great 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

retreat from Russia. As my eyes took in the dreary, roll- 
ing landscape — so much of it as was distinguishable by 
the light of the waning, watery moon — the picture of the 
stragglers of Napoleon's army, tramping in twos and 
threes through the dense fir woods which covered the 
greater part of Prussian Poland in 1812, presented itself 
to my imagination with startling vividness. I remembered 
the stories my brother-in-law had been wont to tell us of 
how, in his wanderings through these same woods, he 
had often come across relics of those who had fallen by 
the way on that terrific march; uniform buttons of brass 
bearing the Imperial eagle, all corroded with time and 
weather and partly hidden by the sand drifts of eighty 
years. Bones, too, not a few, had sometimes come to 
light in the same way; on one occasion my nephew, Fritz 
von Rabe, had stumbled upon a whole skeleton not far 
from the house itself at Lesnian, — that of a drummer- 
boy, as they supposed, by the size. The strangest thing, 
however, to my mind, about the retreat of the Grand 
Army is the comparatively small mortality among such of 
the soldiers composing it as were natives of southern 
Europe — the Italians, especially, the Tuscans of Eugene's 
corps and Murat's Neapolitans — owing, as one cannot 
but fancy, to the accumulated sun-warmth in their blood. 
I had not long to wait, however, before I was informed 
that I could have an " Extra Post." This meant paying 
extra for the station omnibus — an ancient travelling 
carriage, as it proved eventually — to be placed at my 
disposal. Into it I got, therefore, and was presently 
being borne along at a foot's pace towards my destina- 
82 



IN POLISH PRUSSIA 

tion. The carriage, which must have dated from the 
time of the retreat of the Grand Army itself, creaked 
and swung ominously with every turn of the crazy wheels ; 
above my head were great nets intended for baggage, 
but full of dim, rolling objects which resembled nothing 
so much as forgotten skulls. The driver swore and 
grumbled at his horses in his burring Polish all the way; 
the ghostly moon shone on great flats of water on each 
side of the road and after a little while my imagination 
assured me that I was being driven to my death and a 
nameless funeral. Never in my hfe have I encountered 
anything quite so dreary as the interior of that venerable 
" Eilwagen." Completely dark save for a fitful shaft 
of moonlight, and moldy with the damp of ages, it might 
have been the identical vehicle in which Queen Louisa 
escaped to Konigsberg in the sad days after Jena, so 
replete was it with phantastic associations of the past. 
Mile after mile went by for me in momentary expecta- 
tion of finding myself confronted by some shadowy 
neighbour with a remark as to the outcome of our flight 
from the pursuing French — for, indeed, I had fallen 
asleep, worn out with the journey from Berlin. Sud- 
denly I was awakened by the furious barking of many 
dogs. A gate was opened, and a few moments later a 
lamp was held out of a window and a very angry femin- 
ine voice — that of my sister — demanded of my driver 
what he meant by creating such an uproar at that hour 
of the night. 

It was several minutes before I could make myself 
heard amidst the din; when at last I did so, my sister 
83 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

came flying down the steps to greet me : — " Mimo, is it 
you? Where on earth have you fallen from? I thought 
you were in London! " 

And so saying, she led me into the great house and 
down what seemed an interminable succession of corri- 
dors to her own part of it. This wing, as I knew already, 
was called the " Pavilion." To reach it we had to pass, 
finally, through a large greenhouse which admitted us 
into a high, dim room, where every inch of bracket or table 
space seemed filled with some object of interest or art. 
It was not until the next day, however, that I really made 
acquaintance with the room in detail; that night, late as 
it was, we sat and talked until I, at least, could talk no 
more, and then Annie escorted me back to the main 
building, in which a couple of rooms had been hastily 
prepared for my reception. Except in Italy, I do not 
think I have ever seen rooms of such a size in a private 
house; vast parquetted spaces across which our foot- 
steps rang loud and rather lonesomely. These rooms 
possessed one especial feature, with which I fell in love 
on the spot — a quantity of lithograph portraits of by- 
gone Prussian celebrities of the thirties and forties of 
the nineteenth century. There was old King Frederick 
William III and his son, Frederick William the Fourth, 
with the latter's wife, Elizabeth of Bavaria; also Rabes, 
Schencks, and others of the family and its relations. The 
curtains were still looped up beside the great windows 
looking over the white, silent grounds beneath their cover- 
let of snow down to the little frozen lake overhung with 
trees. To me who had never been in the real North 
84 



IN POLISH PRUSSIA 

before, it was all irresistible, reminiscent of something 
out of Tolstoy's " War and Peace." For the first time 
in my life the spell of the northern plain of Europe 
began to acquire a hold upon me with its thousand asso- 
ciations of Hun and Slav, its memories of almost countless 
invasions and wars, from those of Attila to those of 
Frederick the Great and Napoleon, from the slaughter 
and wild confusion of ancient warfare to those of 
Jagerndorff and Eylau ! 

The following morning I spent with Annie in her sit- 
ting-room in the " Pavilion," renewing memories of the 
old days in Italy, back to which indeed everything in the 
room itself conspired to recall them, from the familiar 
painting of the red Pope, as we used to call a very fine 
duplicate of Velasquez's Julius II, to the delicious 
Roman bronzes and knicknacks scattered on every hand. 
By degrees, however, we veered round to the subject of 
Annie and her own immediate surroundings. The 
history of the " Pavilion " itself was strange enough. 

Many years before, when Erich's parents had been 
taking the waters one summer at Teplitz or Marienbad, 

they made the acquaintance of a General , a lonely 

bachelor with some proficiency upon the guitar. The 
acquaintance ripened into intimacy, and towards the end 
of their stay at the Kur the General unbosomed himself 
of his history. He had passed his life in the service of 
the King of Naples and had retired upon a pension; he 
had no one belonging to him in the world and would 
beg a favour — might he be allowed to build himself a 
small dwelling near that of the Rabes in West Prussia, 
85 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

and there spend the rest of his days with them, if it were 
not asking too much of their friendship? To this they 
consented, and the General accompanied them to Les- 
nian where he built the " Pavilion " as a wing on to the 
house, and installed himself there with his possessions. 

Imbued with the religious fervour of southern Italy — 
he himself was a Swiss, I fancy — the General began by 
repairing on the first Sunday to the village church, the 
quaintest of medieval fanes, its walls of stone a yard 
thick, low roofed, and ornamented, if I remember rightly, 
with bright green flags taken from the Turks in the old 
wars of John Sobieski. I do not know for how many 
Sundays his courage sustained him in the performance 
of his duties; but at length he was forced to relinquish 
his attendance there. The congregation consisted en- 
tirely of Polish peasants and there was literally not room 
to turn round. Now the Polish peasant is not by nature 
given to habits of personal cleanliness, nor are long ser- 
mons preached in the vulgar tongue particularly inter- 
esting to an elderly foreign officer who does not under- 
stand a word of it. In Lent, too, the congregation is in the 
habit of singing the entire High Mass through in Polish 
without the help of instrumental music. As the Mass 
lasts nearly two hours and every one stands up the whole 
time, the fatigue of body and the splitting headache 
that result to the amateur may better be imagined than 
described. 

So the General was compelled, reluctantly, to turn his 
devotion into other channels; to atone for not going to 
church, therefore, he had a quantity of wayside shrines 
86 



IN POLISH PRUSSIA 

put up for the edification of the peasants. The 
strangest part, however, of what Annie told me about 
him was not concerned with his doings in life, but his 
manifestations of activity after death — for such, at 
least, they seemed to be. Towards the end of his days 
he had taken to using an invalid chair in which he could 
propel himself about without help from other people. 
When he was dead, this chair was relegated to the attic 
where it remained undisturbed for years, until Erich and 
Annie took up their quarters as a young married couple 
in the " Pavilion." 

From time to time they began to notice, either very 
early at night or else towards dawn, unaccountable noises 
overhead. These sounded like the rumbling of wheels, 
now fast, now slow, over the boards of the attic. Once, 
indeed, to Annie's consternation, she heard the wheels 
advance with a sudden furious rush to the head of the 
stairway leading from the attic down to her bedroom 
door; there something seemed to check and push them 
back. She and her husband were not the only people 
thus disturbed; the servants complained repeatedly of 
the activity of the General's wheel chair, although my 
sister only laughed at such a notion. To her amaze- 
ment, one morning after the rumblings had been partic- 
ularly uproarious in the night, the cook came to her with 
a broad smile. 

*' Ah, gnadige Frau," she began, " do you remember 
how we told you we were sure the noises came from the 
General's chair? If you will come upstairs with me I 
should like to show you something." 
87 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Wondering what was going to follow, Annie did as she 
was asked and together they ascended to the attic. 

" There, gnadige Frau — what do you think of that? " 
asked the cook, triumphantly pointing to the floor. 

" What is this? " demanded Annie half angrily; for the 
place was covered with flour, across which, back and 
forth, ran wide traces as of wheels, in every conceivable 
pattern! The General's chair, too, was thick with the 
stuff — at least, the wheels were. 

" Well, to tell you the truth we thought we would 
really find out whether the chair was to blame or not; 
so, last night, we put this down," indicating the flour. 
" You see how It is, gnadige Frau — there is no fraud 
about it; yours and mine are the only footprints in the 
room." 

After that Annie had to surrender at discretion, but the 
General's chair was securely tied up and no further 
disturbances ensued. 

In some ways the peasants of Prussian Poland struck 
me as having less respect for the dead than might have 
been expected of so sincerely religious a people. In the 
neighbouring town of Marienwerder, attached to one of 
the churches, was an ancient burial vault, easily accessi- 
ble to the general public. In this vault, owing to some 
quality of the air, the bodies placed there had become 
completely mummified, as though they had been embalmed. 
In the course of time — the place had not been used for 
purposes of sepulture for many years — several of the 
coffins had fallen to pieces and the bodies they sheltered 
lay exposed to view. Among these was that of an old- 
88 



IN POLISH PT^USSIA 

time Polish " Starost," a country magnate of the seven- 
teenth century, dressed in all the splendour of the national 
costume, from the fur-lined cap to the tasselled gloves 
and the short boots of softest, untanned doe skin. These 
boots, I learned, disappeared from time to time and then 
returned, as by magic, to their owner. The riddle of 
their vanishing remained a mystery until it was discovered 
that the younger dandies among the peasants were in 
the habit of borrowing the " Starost's " smart boots to 
dance in on holidays and festival occasions generally — 
always restoring his property to the old fellow with 
scrupulous exactitude and many thanks for the loan of 
them. 

Talking of boots reminds me of another occasion, 
when the wife of one of the peasants at Lesnian had 
died and been buried with every mark of sympathy from 
the " Herrschaft " for her sorrowing husband, an elderly 
man, who appeared quite broken down under his loss. 
Everybody attended the funeral and nothing was left 
undone to comfort the inconsolable widower. 

On the evening of the day of his wife's interment he 
presented himself at the house and asked to see Frau 
von Rabe, saying that he had a favour to ask. Instantly 
he was ushered in and was begged to state his wishes — 
was there anything she could do to lessen his affliction? 

" Gnadige Frau, the truth is," he began, turning his hat 
round nervously in his fingers, " that I have come to — 
to ask leave to get married again. You see — " 

"But good gracious! Of course you may, when the 
time comes." 

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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

" Yes, but — but I want to marry now, to-night. 
It is like this — " 

" What on earth do you mean? Why, your wife was 
only buried this morning! Surely you cannot be 
serious? " 

" Indeed I am, gnadige Frau ! As I was saying, 
it 's like this — how am I going to go to bed with my 
boots on? And unless I marry who is to pull them off 
for me? I could n't do it myself however hard I tried," 
— pointing to his tight-fitting top-boots — "so I 

have spoken to , and she is willing to marry me 

at once — this minute — if only you will give us 
permission! " 

This is absolutely true — even if it does seem 
incredible ! 

The old General's would seem not to have been the 
only restless spirit at Lesnian. One summer's day, some 
years before my visit, Annie had been driving along the 
highway to Czerwinsk, her thoughts, as it chanced, anx- 
iously working around some problem of her daily life, 
when, suddenly, she became dimly aware of some one 
walking in her direction along the green border on the 
other side of the road. The time was about eleven 
o'clock in the morning and the day itself one of brilliant 
sunshine. Lifting her eyes which had been cast down, 
she let them rest on the approaching figure, as yet some 
distance away from her. The first thing that struck her 
as odd about it was its manner of progress; it seemed to 
be about a foot above the ground and to be gliding 
towards her without any movement of the limbs. " How 
90 



IN POLISH PRUSSIA 

very extraordinary! " she thought; and then, as the figure 
came nearer to her, she rubbed her eyes, thinking she 
must be the victim of a delusion. For she was staring 
at a tall, haggard man in the high bear-skin shako and 
the blue uniform, with its white cross belts, of an old- 
time grenadier of Napoleon's Guard. Inconceivably ill 
and miserable the man looked as he returned her glance, 
and In that second he was gone, vanished into thin air, 
leaving Annie to gaze confounded at the place where he 
had been! 

The people on my brother-in-law's estate were as 
different from their German landlords as they could well 
be. The Germans, Indeed, were strangers in a strange 
land, speaking no tongue but their own, and having no 
sympathies for any but German methods and German 
traditions; and this in spite of the fact that they had 
been there for a long time, comparatively speaking; for 
all that part of Poland fell to Frederick the Great at 
the first partition of the country, in 1772. Indeed, the 
greater number of the Polish people at present under 
German rule would probably — if the question were al- 
lowed to go by popular vote — be found to prefer the 
Russians for their masters rather than the Germans. 
Teuton and Slav will never amalgamate, and there Is 
consequently something to be said (from the present point 
of view) for the action of the Prussian Government 
In what is known as the " Prussificatlon of Prussian 
Poland." But the experiment of planting Germans upon 
Polish soil has proved a doubtful success. 
91 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Long before my visit to Lesnian I had met and known 
fairly well a good many Poles at one time and another, 
but, for me, the name of their country was always and is 
still indentified with the sorrow of exiles. Ever since 
I can remember anything at all it has been the same. 
Already, during my earliest days in Rome, the tide of 
political fugitives had long been pouring in from Poland; 
indeed, it had begun as far back as 1831 after the first 
ill-starred Polish revolt against Russia, bringing with it, 
among others, the poets, Mickiewicz and Krasinski. 
This was long before my time, but there were many 
people in the Rome of my childhood who had known 
both poets during the greater part of their lives. 
Mickiewicz's history, especially, is like something out of 
the legends of his country, sublimely tragic and almost 
distressingly mysterious — the history of a man born to 
unusual suffering and for the possession of whose soul 
mighty forces did battle with each other. 

If for no other reason than that of being unable 
to enjoy Mickiewicz's writings in his own tongue, I re- 
gret my inability to read Polish; particularly his 
" Grazyna " in which he tells the adventures of a chief- 
tainess of ancient Lithuania and her struggles against 
the invaders of her beloved primeval forests, the Teu- 
tonic Knights. I wonder if, as has been said, it was the 
reading of " Grazyna " which inspired his country-woman 
Emilia Plater, the Polish Jeanne d'Arc, who fought so 
desperately on the side of the Revolutionaries in 1831 
and was buried by her companions-in-arms in the heart 
of those same Lithuanian forests? And, speaking of 
92 



IN POLISH PRUSSIA 

Poland and her misfortunes, I cannot help hoping that 
the opinion of Lord Palmerston as to the probability of 
the ultimate restoration of the Polish kingdom may 
prove correct. The truth would seem to be that, as a 
matter of fact, the Poles are the least Slav of all the 
Slav nations — if not ethnographically, then, at least, in 
all their ways of thought and conduct of life. They are 
really, socially speaking, more like the Austrians than 
the Russians; and the Austrian, for all he may some- 
times assert to the contrary, is at least half a Latin. 
Certainly, there was never an unwiser people than the 
Poles in the matter of politics. They seem never to have 
known, if I may use a homely phrase, on which side their 
bread was buttered. From Napoleon's time, when they 
gave their all for the man who was always ready to sell 
them at a moment's notice at the price of a month's 
armistice in time of need, down to the miserable mis- 
takes of the rising of 1831 (when they had not one 
single serious complaint against their ruler, the Grand 
Duke Constantine, who had married a Pole for honest 
love of her and openly said of himself that he was more 
Pole than Russian), there is not a blunder they have not 
committed. Good luck to them ! 

It was, of course, in 1863 and 1864 that the last great 
influx of Poles into Italy began; and the fugitives were 
almost entirely members of that lesser nobility which 
had been primarily responsible for the recent insurrec- 
tion. Never, by the way, were human beings in a more 
difficult position than the nobles of Poland during the 
revolt of 1863. Owing to orders from Petersburg they 
93 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

were compelled to remain on their estates and were held 
responsible for any disorder among their peasants; and 
failure to obey these orders was accounted to them as 
a participation in the rebellion, the punishment for which 
varied from death to banishment. On the other hand, 
if the luckless nobles carried out their instructions they 
became, naturally, the special mark of the insurgents; 
and on more than one occasion the Russian troops found 
some such unfortunate gentleman hanging by the neck 
amid the wreckage of his own drawing-room ! 

And yet no one can say of the Emperor Alexander II 
that he did not do everything in his power to prevent 
the rebellion by every possible concession to Polish pride 
of nationality. Once the revolt had broken out there 
was no resource left to the Russian Government but 
that of brute force. And to this end Berg and 
Muravieff and Bezack were given dictatorial power in 
Poland, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolla, and even as far 
as the Ukraine — over the whole of which vast terri- 
tory the storm was raging. 

Poland — Polen — Polska — with how varying an 
inflection does the name fall upon the ear as uttered In 
English or In German or In the national tongue itself! 

Of all the Poles from whom I received an abiding im- 
pression of the sorrows of their country, the most typical 
were a family called Kenievltch. The Kenlevitches were 
members of that same lesser Polish nobility against 
which had been directed the especial harshness of the 
German-Russian Lieutenant-General of Poland, Count 
Berg, the veteran of Borodino, In his suppression of the 
94 



IN POLISH PRUSSIA 

outbreak of 1863. (One cannot help wondering whether 
Tolstoy, whose dislike of Germans was so virulent, may 
not have had this same personage — a little older for 
the purposes of the story, of course, than he actually was 
at the time — in the "Berg" of "War and Peace.") 
The Kenievitches, who had roamed Europe for years 
as exiles from their native land, had settled in an 
apartment in Rome, early in the eighties. I do 
not think I was ever in any " atmosphere " at once so 
sad and so attractive. The whole family (consisting 
of old Monsieur Kenievitch, his wife, her sister, and his 
granddaughter Katinka, a child of fourteen), although 
naturally under a cloud, were yet serenely resigned to 
their misfortunes in their absolute assurance as to the 
ultimate resurrection of their country — as it were with 
that dauntless gaiety of certain mortally stricken invalids 
which is always so pathetic in its gallantry. In their 
small hired dwelling, with its few treasures and relics 
of the past, one seemed to breathe the air of some ancient 
Polish manor in the wilds of Suwalki or Radom rather 
than of the modernised Rome of the eighties. 

At that time the Kenievitches were, perhaps, less 
bitterly inclined than were some of their compatriots 
towards their Russian conquerors; for Katinka's older 
sister had married a Russian official who, however, after- 
wards gave the Kenievitches good reason to detest his 
name and nationality by alienating his wife's sympathies 
almost completely — as was inevitable — from her 
family. We are told that we cannot serve two masters; 
and the truth of this was indicated only too forcibly in 
95 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the case of Vanda Kenievltch. I do not know whether 
she adhered, after marriage, to the faith of her fathers 
or not; but when she was dead her husband succeeded 
in getting possession, not only of her property in 
Poland, but very nearly of Katinka's as well, through 
his influence with the Russian Government. When last 
I heard of Katinka she was on the point of becoming a 
naturalised Italian in order to save herself from the 
extradition proceedings with which her brother-in-law 
was attempting to get her into his power and so compel 
her consent to his administration of the remnant of her 
patrimony. 

But of all the Poles I ever knew I think the Galician 
** notables " one met in Vienna were about the fiercest 
partisans of their less fortunate brethren across the 
German and Russian frontiers. In Austria, as is well 
known, the Poles of Galicia are among the staunchest 
and most devoted subjects of the Crown; but to such an 
extent did their national hatred prevail over all other 
considerations that when the " Drei Kalserbund " — 
the alliance of the three Emperors (of Austria, Russia, 
and Germany) — expired in 1887, it was found impos- 
sible to renew it owing to the opposition of the Polish 
element in Austria, which was unfortunate, as one can- 
not help thinking, in the interests of the world at 
large, which needs just that union of the great standing 
armies in order to hold in check the tide of hberalism 
and so dissipate openly the sick illusions of too many 
dreamers — not to mention the aspirations of the 
materialists in Poland itself. For, as they must them- 
96 



IN POLISH PRUSSIA 

selves admit, the best among the Poles — the clergy, 
the nobles, the native land-owners, and the members of 
the learned professions — have always had to contend 
in their struggle for national independence and religious 
freedom with the indifference or hostility of the peas- 
ants and the fatal love of money of the business and 
commercial classes — in which that same love of money 
is often greater than the love of country, king, or faith. 
Indeed, it is among the members of the business and 
commercial classes that Poland finds her most danger- 
ous enemies — the Jewish element of the population — 
to whom the very thought of a Polish nation is almost 
as hateful as that of Christianity itself. If ever Poland 
is to regain her national sovereignty — as Lord Pal- 
merston on his death-bed declared must, sooner or later, 
inevitably be the case — she must first of all take meas- 
ures against the Jews within her borders; measures, 
that is, not of " Progrom " (which can never serve any 
good end), but of genuine, restraining justice. Unhap- 
pily for Poland — as a whole, and that not merely a 
geographical expression — she is in much the position 
of certain other (and decadent) nations in which the 
military virtues have been stifled by commercialism. 
Unlike those nations, however, she has within her an 
undying impulse toward better things — things spiritual 
and ideal — thanks to her glorious traditions, her aspira- 
tions, her religious faith, and the rigours of her climate; 
the whole combining to form as it were the preserving 
salt without which no nation or community can success- 
fully combat social and political decay. 
97 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

Villa Sforza Cesarini and the Duke of My Day — An Obscure Victim — The 
Sforza Line — Lady Fraser and a Little Girl's Terrors of <<Boney" in 
1804 — Sir John at Eton — Sir George Nugent — A Duel at Sea — A 
Scottish Grand Vizier — The Strange Case of Doctor Bums — Simon 
Eraser, the Brigadier — An Epidemic of Bogeys — Uncle Sam's Last 
Journey — General de Sonnaz — Admiral Caracciolo — Where Nelson 
Was not Great — The Dead Admiral Demands Christian Burial. 

IN the spring of 1882 we left Vienna, Hugh having 
been appointed, at his own request, to the Embassy 
In Rome. We felt that before very long the ordinary 
course of promotion would send us far away from 
Europe, and I wanted to be near my own people for a 
time before that should happen. The one great ques- 
tion of the spring in Rome is, " Where shall we go for 
the summer? " My husband could not move far from 
the Embassy, where he would be needed to replace Sir 
Augustus Paget who, of course, would utilise the hot 
months to take his vacation in England. Finally we 
decided on the Villa Sforza Cesarini at Genzano, a place 
that I remembered lovingly for its beauty and peace, in 
spite of having passed through a long and trying illness 
there as a child. My dear people were to share the huge 
house with us, and in June we moved out with servants, 
goods, and chattels, and installed ourselves in the great 
98 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

grey palazzo among the deep chestnut woods of the 
Alban Hills. 

One of the especial charms of those hills is that you 
can drive from your own door in Rome to the door of 
your summer home without getting out of the carriage, 
by far the most pleasant way of travelling after all. The 
Roman nobles of the earlier ages saw the advantage of 
having a stronghold within view of the city; they could 
fly to the stronghold when the city became too hot to 
hold them ; they could swoop down on the city by one 
hour's hard riding when they were in the mood for fun or 
fighting. Their children were, as a rule, brought up in 
the country, even as almost all Roman children of the 
middle and lower classes are sent there now for the first 
two or three years of their lives. The Romans of my 
youth were, however, very little interested in their splen- 
did old country places. They were terrible cockneys in 
their love of the crowds and bustle of town, and only 
visited the " Castello " (as every mountain village is 
still called) when for one reason or another it was im- 
possible to seek some fashionable distant resort for the 
late summer months, when Rome itself is insupportably 
hot and unhealthy. Now, through the numerous foreign 
marriages and the consequent influx of foreign tastes, 
many of the old places have been modernised into delight- 
ful dwellings, steam-heated, electric-lighted, and put in 
organised communication with the " fournisseurs " of 
every kind of expensive luxury for the table and life 
generally. There is this to be said for the foreign 
marriage — if the wife be an Englishwoman of rank, 
99 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

she feels It imperative to have her proper country home 
as well as her town house; if she be an American, the 
instinct is in her, though not the tradition, and, not having 
to encounter the difficulties of home-making in the States, 
where domestic service is so bad, uncertain, and expen- 
sive, the woman's natural love of home has a chance 
to develop and assert itself very beneficially, first of all 
for her own character, and incidentally for the comfort 
and good of her family and her husband's dependents. 

The young man who was the head of the Roman 
Sforzas in 1883 had married Donna Vittoria Colonna, 
who, if I remember rightly, overtopped him by some inches 
in height and unmeasured distances in spirit. He was, 
physically, a degenerate descendant of the great wood- 
cutter brute, Attendolo Sforza, who, together with his 
immediate descendants, has furnished eclectic English 
writers and fastidious English readers with such a glo- 
rious debauch of lust and savagery. The Duke of my day 
was a very ordinary young man, fond of pleasure when 
pleasure entailed no risk and little trouble, callous to bru- 
tality where the affairs of his peasants were concerned. A 
sordid tragedy, which roused the latter's wrath to boiling 
point, occurred while we were at Genzano, and brought 
me into hostile contact with my landlord. The collector 
of the local taxes for the government was set upon, 
robbed, and murdered, as he was returning from one 
of his rounds. Such an official is, naturally, not popular 
with the inhabitants, but this poor man left a young 
wife who, with her old mother to provide for, found 
herself not only widowed and heartbroken, but utterly 
100 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

destitute when the family bread-winner met with his 
violent death. They were Neapolitans, but the Genzano 
people felt great pity for them. Being very poor them- 
selves, they hoped that the Duke would come to the 
forlorn woman's assistance. The Duke, however, was 
persistently inaccessible to them, so I undertook to inter- 
view him and present the case to his consideration. I 
shall never forget the shameless callousness with which 
he refused my modest request. To all my pleading his 
only reply was, " The man was rather a good-for-nothing 
fellow at best. His family will have to look out for 
themselves. I can do nothing for them." It was a case 
where the tiniest monthly sum given for charity's sake till 
the widow could get work (to make matters smoother 
the poor thing was expecting a baby) would have meant 
untold relief and peace. As it was the " family " was left 
to the kind offices of strangers and no inquiries were 
ever made as to what became of it. The baby proved 
to be a child of exceptional intelligence and character 
and has grown into a brilliantly intellectual young man, 
none too well disposed, as is only natural, towards the 
upper classes of his own country. It is the rich, selfish 
people who make all the real socialists in Italy as 
elsewhere. 

It was curious to go from room to room in that 
Cesarini palace and trace in the many portraits the change 
in the transmitted characteristics of the race. First, 
brute strength and dormant ferocity, then ferocity in 
power — the concentrated yet heavy face of the tyrant, 
forced to constant watchfulness; then, as fortune smiled 

lOI 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

and manners grew milder, the tenseness was banished 
by confidence and good living, and replaced by an ex- 
pression of contented arrogance which, of later years, 
became merely dull, vacuous, and almost frightened, as 
if the descendants of Attendolo Sforza were sometimes 
asking themselves what on earth would happen should 
some reverse really throw them on their own resources. 

The Palazzo was altogether rather a melancholy place, 
and although we formed a large gay party ourselves 
and had pleasant friends to stay with us, a vague sense 
of the untoward hung over me from the time we were 
installed there, a sense quite justified by the events, for 
no sooner were we established in Villa Sforza than my 
husband received a summons to return home to England, 
where his mother lay dying in her house at Bath. To 
my regret, I was unable to go with him, but I had re- 
tained a vivid recollection of my visit to Bath, a year 
earlier, and the delightful image of my mother-in-law 
was still fresh and ever present in my mind all through 
those last weeks of her life. 

Of all the women of a bygone generation, I always 
think that Lady Eraser was one of the most charming 
types, and one of the furthest removed from the world 
of to-day in almost everything — the secluded calm of 
her life, and her complete immunity from all things 
mercenary or superficial, as well as in her completely 
gentle, but steadfast, trust in the goodness of Providence 
towards her. Born in the momentous year which saw 
her country's security threatened on the one hand by 
war with France, and on the other by the rebellion in 

I02 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

Ireland, she grew up amidst an atmosphere of great 
events. 

My husband used to tell me how, as a little girl, his 
mother would go up into her bedroom at Stede Hill in 
Kent, and pray Heaven to deliver them from the menace 
of " Boney " and his mighty preparations for the inva- 
sion of England, back in 1804 or thereabouts. 

But until Napoleon's career was finally ended, in her 
seventeenth year, the existence to Miss Selima Baldwin 
(as she was) must have been replete with the most painful 
anxiety and uncertainties, seeing that, save for the few 
months between the first abdication of Napoleon in 18 14 
and the campaign of the following summer in Belgium, 
not a day went by without its meed of mental distress — 
even when that distress was leavened by the news of 
victories. Of her own immediate relations, one at least, 
Tom Baldwin, was drawn into the vortex of these trou- 
blous times, and that in no very satisfactory manner to 
himself, as an officer with the Duke of York's ill-fated 
expedition to Walcheren. When first I saw my mother- 
in-law, in 1 88 1, her husband had been dead some years, 
so that I never met him; but the stories of him were 
plentiful. The youngest of three brothers, he was sent 
to a " Dame's " house at Eton at the age of no more than 
six, in the year of his wife's birth, 1798. There he re- 
mained until, I think, about 1808, when he voluntarily 
took upon himself the blame for another's fault and so 
underwent expulsion to save a friend from punishment. 
The Eton of Sir John Eraser's day was very different 
from that of our own, or, even, from that of my hus- 
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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

band's; boys were still more left to themselves for good 
or evil than they are now — and that would seem to be 
saying a good deal! One of the marked features of the 
Eton of that time was the insufficiency of the food; and, on 
one occasion, my father-in-law, together with some other 
boys, determined to satisfy their hunger by an ingenious 
method. Finding a sow one day, just across the bound- 
aries of the school, they contrived to smuggle the creature 
to the top of the building, where they made a comfort- 
able temporary home for her during some weeks until 
her litter was born — the whole of which they killed, 
roasted, and ate with ravenous appetites. The sow, 
herself, they afterwards restored under cover of night to 
the pasture of her owner — who must have been wonder- 
ing what had become of his property! 

From Eton young Eraser went to Haileybury, there to 
prepare for the service of the East India Company; he 
also left, under a cloud; this time for insubordination, 
and his habits of fighting with the watermen! Soon 
after, though. In 1811, an ensign's commission was 
bought for him; no sooner had he joined his regiment, 
however, than he proceeded to distinguish himself afresh, 
by an exploit which might have ended badly for all con- 
cerned. He had made a bet that he would row over, 
with a boatful of soldiers, from Dover to Calais and back 
again in a given time, without being taken prisoner by 
the French; which feat he accomplished successfully, 
albeit he had to finish his performance by sculling the 
last few homeward miles alone — his companions being 
one and all too prostrated by sea-sickness to handle an 
104 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

oar. This fondness for laying wagers upon his own 
powers of physical endurance was transmitted to his son, 
my husband, who, many years later, as an attache in 
Saxony in 1857, undertook to swim for a bet down the 
Elbe from Dresden to Pirna — and won his bet, too ! 

But to return to my father-in-law. In that same year, 
181 1, his uncle, Sir George Nugent, took the youngster 
out with him to India as A. D. C. Sir George was a sol- 
dier of the old school, who had seen service first in 
America in 1775; later on, after marrying Miss Van 
Cortlandt-Skinner, whose father had been a loyalist 
during the Revolution, he received the command of the 
troops in the north of Ireland. In this capacity he put 
down the rising there in 1798, by his defeat of the rebels 
at Ballynahinch. After his victory, be it said, Nugent 
acted in no wise like some of his colleagues in the South; 
there was nothing, for instance, of " pitch-capping " 
under his rule, as there was in Waterford and Wexford 
under the auspices of the Yeomanry and their officers 
after Vinegar Hill. 

It was on the voyage to India that Eraser fought his 
first duel. It came about as the result of the ship's captain 
having spoken roughly on some occasion to a soldier — 
one of a draft under Eraser's charge. The latter 
promptly demanded satisfaction of the " skipper " who 
was by no means anxious for an encounter; at length, 
however, he was compelled to accept the challenge — 
mainly, I fancy, through the good offices of General 
Nugent, who, as in loco parentis, was unwilling that his 
nephew should lose the chance of thus smelling powder 
105 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

so early in his career. As he remarked to Lady Nugent, 
who was in dread of the consequences for her sister's 
boy: — " It would make all the difference to him, after- 
wards, to have been shot over." The combatants 
were put ashore upon an island and the duel took place. 
Providentially, however, no one was hurt, and the voy- 
age was resumed without delay. Let me say at once 
that I am utterly opposed to duelling, in itself, as a means 
of settling men's differences; and yet, in view of the 
deterioration of good manners since its abolition at home, 
I cannot help agreeing with a saintly priest of the Ora- 
tory in London, to whom I once happened to mention 
the question. " Yes, indeed," he replied, " duelling was 
a horrible thing — but, oh, dear, I often think what a 
pity it is they can't think of something else to take its 
place! " 

Shortly after his arrival in India — he was stationed 
in what is now the Madras Presidency — Eraser ex- 
changed into a cavalry regiment, the Fourteenth Light 
Dragoons, in the hopes of getting back with them to 
Europe in time to see something of service against 
the French. In this he was doomed to disappointment. 
Subsequently, he transferred to the Eighth of the same 
branch, but with no better luck. Nor was it until long 
after leaving India and selling his commission that for- 
tune turned for him, when his cousin. Lord Glenelg, as 
Secretary for the Colonies, procured for him the appoint- 
ment of Secretary to the Commissioner of the Ionian 
Islands. There my husband used to spend his holi- 
days sometimes with his parents, years later, when a boy 
io6 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

at Eton. On one of these occasions, he made the ac- 
quaintance of a Mr. Gordon, a young officer of 
Engineers, a few years his senior, who was, I take it, 
on his way back from the Near East to England after 
the Crimean War. Even then, Charles George Gordon 
possessed an extraordinary magnetism over all who came 
into contact with him; and my husband fell completely 
under the spell of his personality. It was Gordon's 
voice, more than anything else, that at first fascinated 
Hugh — one of those true Scottish voices that must be 
heard to be appreciated; but apart from that, the man's 
amazing fatalism, together with his belief in himself 
as an instrument of Heaven, marked him out sufficiently 
from among his fellow-creatures. Had Gordon been of 
a somewhat different type, with his abiding conviction of 
being the recipient of a definite mission somewhere In 
the world, there is no saying but that he might have fol- 
lowed in the footsteps of others among his compatriots 
and taken service under a foreign European government. 
For he was quite thrown away on that of England, which 
abandoned him so shamefully in the hour of his supreme 
need. Of all the Instances, however, of Scots in foreign 
service, one handed down from that James Keith who 
fell at Prague as a Prussian field-marshal under 
Frederick the Great Is, to my mind, by far the most 
delightful. Before entering the service of Prussia, It 
will be remembered how James Keith had served 
both Spain and Russia; it was as a general officer 
of the Empress Anna Petrovna that he was entrusted 
with the conduct of some preliminaries for peace with 
107 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Turkey, prior to the treaty of Belgrade. On the com- 
pletion of the negotiations, which were conducted in 
French, the Turkish representative — no other, indeed, 
than the Grand Vizier, himself — a tall, red-bearded 
personage dressed all in the sacred green of a Hadji 
(or holy man who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca), 
arose and came round to where Keith was standing by 
the table. 

" It affords me great pleasure. Sir," the Grand Vizier 
began to the astounded Keith, in excellent English, with 
an entrancing Scottish accent, *' to have had the oppor- 
tunity of meeting again with so distinguished a person 
as yourself. You look surprised — but I well remember 
you and your brother going to school. My father, Sir, 
was the bell-man of Kircaldy." 

Seeing that it was this same Grand Vizier, Yegen 
Mohammed Pasha, who had just defeated another Scot 
— in the person of Wallis or Wallace, the Austrian 
commander at Krotzka — and so had decided the whole 
issue of the campaign, the situation was not unlike that 
described by the late Max O'Rell in speaking of a snow- 
bound railway train in Canada of which he said, " There 
was only one stove on the entire system — and a Scotch- 
man had it." (And, by the way, there is, I am told, no 
word so offensive to the Scottish ear as that same 
" Scotch " ; the word was coined by Doctor Johnson, 
I believe, and so was probably intended to apply to his 
biographer, Boswell.) 

Speaking of Scots, to my mind the most remarkable of 
all the characters connected with Corfu in the years 
io8 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

after the Crimean War was Doctor James Burns 
who died there in July, 1865, as one of her Majesty's 
Inspectors of Military Hospitals. He had formerly, 
I think, been attached to the garrison at the Cape 
of Good Hope, whence he had been sent home for some 
offence against discipline. Far and wide he had the repu- 
tation of being one of the most quarrelsome men in 
the whole army; having been repeatedly engaged in 
duels — and that as the challenging party. His extra- 
ordinary abilities, however, procured him the pardon of 
the authorities, and so, at length, he rose to the top of 
his profession. He died quite suddenly, and the amaze- 
ment at the Horse Guards, where his death was reported 
at once, may be imagined when it turned out that the 
fire-eating Doctor had, in reality, been — a woman! 
The truth as to Doctor Burns' sex had not been sus- 
pected by even his body-servant. It began to be ru- 
moured, soon after " his " demise, that the Doctor had 
been the granddaughter of a Scottish peer and had em- 
braced the medical profession for love of an army sur- 
geon about the time of Waterloo. 

The Erasers' attachment to Bath, the depressing " city 
of King Bladud," puzzled me until I realised that its som- 
nolent calm was just what would appeal to men ready to 
retire from the wild hurly-burly of military service a hun- 
dred years ago. My husband's grandfather passed the 
last years of his life there, the same grandfather who had 
gone out to America with the family regiment, the Seventy- 
first, under the leadership of his uncle. Brigadier Simon 
Eraser, of Balnain. The war of 1775 was a most un- 
109 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

popular one in the Highlands and as an Instance of this 
it is told how, when the Brigadier was about to sail from 
Greenock and was giving a farewell lunch to his friends, 
including some ladies from the south of Scotland, who 
did not understand Gaelic, the wives and families of his 
clansmen, whom he had compelled to serve under him, 
assembled outside the inn and cursed him roundly in 
their native tongue. On being questioned by one of the 
ladies present as to the meaning of this demonstration, 
he replied that It was entirely complimentary and In- 
tended to show the loyalty and goodwill of the clan. 

Nevertheless, the curses held good, and the poor Briga- 
dier, as we know, was destined to fall as the victim of a 
sharpshooter, one Murphy, who shot him in obedience to 
the American Colonel Morgan's orders at Saratoga in 
1777. "Do you see that officer on the grey horse?" 
asked Morgan of Murphy. " That Is General Eraser — 
he is a brave man, but I must do my duty and we cannot 
afford to let him live." The Brigadier was shot through 
the stomach — in precisely the same way as happened, 
although, mercifully, without the same result, to my 
younger son in the Boer War — and died during the fol- 
lowing night in the house where the wife of his colleague, 
Baroness Riedesel, was awaiting news of her husband; she 
it was who used to tell how, like Charles II, the Brigadier 
kept apologising for his slowness in dying and for the 
Inconvenience he must be causing her. 

At sunset of the next day he was buried in the great 
redoubt near which he had been struck down, Mr. Bru- 
denel, the chaplain, reading the Service over his body, 
no 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

while the Americans, mistaking the nature of the pro- 
ceedings, poured a sustained cannonade upon them, 
Brudenel, all credit to him, continued his reading un- 
dauntedly, although his surplice was scattered over with 
the sand and dust from the shots that fell around him. 
Presently, however, when the Americans realised what 
was taking place, they changed their fire for that of 
minute-guns with which to render the ordinary honours to 
the dead. The Brigadier's remains were allowed to stay 
there for nearly half a century, until 1822, when his old 
soldier-servant, a man of the clan, came over and took 
them back to Scotland for reinterment. He found them 
without much difficulty; a few bones, wrapped between 
blankets, and lying upon a couple of crossed bayonets, a 
silver stock-buckle, and some rags of uniform. The Briga- 
dier it was who had been the first man to scale the Heights 
of Abraham, in the night of September i, 1759, with the 
former family regiment (the old 78th, subsequently dis- 
banded in 1763 when its place was taken by the 71st). 
The idea, though, of scaling the apparently insurmount- 
able heights, was originally that of another Scot, Lieu- 
tenant MaccuUoch — without the help of whose sug- 
gestions Wolfe might well have had to endure the fate 
he pictured in his own words when he declared, " I 
will never return home to be exposed, as other unfortu- 
nate commanders have been, to the censure and reproach 
of an ignorant and ungrateful populace." MaccuUoch, 
by the way, was left to die, by his country, as a pauper 
In Marylebone Workhouse In 1793. Amongst those 
who distinguished themselves especially in the battle was 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

an old Highland gentleman, Malcolm MacPherson of 
Pholness, then in his eightieth year, who, having lost 
his all in a lawsuit, came out with the Erasers as a 
volunteer. So well did he use his " claybeg," or broad- 
sword, that he was given a commission for his prowess. 

To return to the Erasers of my own day — a week or 
two after my husband got back from England my good 
little Austrian cook, a girl we had brought from Vienna, 
fell ill of typhoid fever and died, to our great sorrow, 
far from her own people and land. After that, I fled 
with my children to Leghorn, to get a few weeks of the 
good sea-breezes before returning to town, when other 
complications awaited me. These two years at our 
Roman post seemed to be full of nothing else at times ! 

In order to be in the same quarter as the Embassy we 
had taken an apartment on the Esquiline, looking into 
the Piazza of Santa Maria Maggiore. It went against 
me like a sacrilege, for the raw, showy, newly built house 
stood exactly over the spot where, in my childhood, the 
side gate of Villa Negroni, my birthplace,^ shut our own 
fairy-land off from the world outside. Just here the 
orange " Viale " used to end in a beautiful deep-arched 
gateway two stories high, containing a studio and dwell- 
ing rooms, and frescoed within and without in fine Renais- 
sance style. Through its iron " cancello " Marion and I 
used to watch the doings of the outer world and listen to 
the bells of Santa Maria Maggiore, our own special 
church. A friendly French artist had rented the studio 
from my father, and we had an intimate friend in a hoary, 

* See Volume I of "A Diplomatist's Wife in Many Lands." 
I 12 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

cheerful old beggar who sat all day on the stone seat out- 
side and into whose battered peaked hat we dropped many 
a baicocco on festa days. To him I proudly presented 
my first piece of knitting, I remember — a woollen scarf 
of all the colours of the rainbow, of which I was enor- 
mously proud. 

In May there was another great attraction just 
outside that gate, a wonderful little altar, all smothered 
in roses and pansies, in the midst of which stood 
a picture of Our Lady, flanked — when the altar 
tenders had had good luck — with lighted candles. This 
was the poor children's way of celebrating the Month 
of Mary. Before almost every doorway in the humbler 
quarters of the town stood a little table, sometimes only 
a straw-bottomed chair, on which, during the whole 
month, the " Madonna " of the family was displayed, 
surrounded with flowers, and passersby were solicited 
to drop a copper into the cup on the " altarino " to buy 
more candles with. The pretty custom disappeared with 
all the others, after the changes which had so " trans- 
mogrified " our end of the town that but for the great 
Church of St. Mary Major one would hardly know it 
again. 

The desecrators brought down one heavy punishment 
on the inhabitants, however. Reckless of the history 
of that part of the city, in the wild fever of speculation, 
they tore down the sparsely scattered old buildings and, 
to lay foundations for new ones, opened up depths 
which past generations had wisely let alone. The re- 
gion where our own Villa stretched its grounds had, in 
113 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

ancient times, been the burying place for slaves, and 
these, with all the most undesirable part of the popula- 
tion, crowded the " Suburra," the quarter which lies 
between Santa Maria Maggiore and the Lateran, and 
which still bears, in the mouths of the people, its ancient 
name, and, in its newly built squalor and desolation, 
maintains at least the aspect of its ancient reputation. 

It had not occurred to the innovators to consult ex- 
perts as to the qualities of the soil in which they started 
to delve so light-heartedly, but an outburst of particu- 
larly malevolent malaria soon enlightened them and the 
unfortunate inhabitants, and the miserably bad drainage 
arrangements did the rest. After endless trouble and 
continuous illness in the family, we decided to change 
our domicile, and in the second year of that stage in 
Rome, moved into a " bijou " Villa close to the Embassy, 
but still on what had been the grounds of Villa Negroni. 

I left the house on the Esquiline thankfully enough, 
for with malaria had come another pest from which 
several besides ourselves had to suffer and which really 
got on my nerves most unpleasantly — apparitions of 
dead Romans of a disreputable class and endowed with 
irritating persistency. I always loved good ghost-stories 
because of the fine dramatic pictures that they present 
to the imagination, and I had got quite fond of the old 
window ghost in Palazzo Odescalchi, the gentle, kindly 
shade who stayed with us for so many years; ^ but for 
the ordinary " ghost " I feel nothing but antipathy and 
contempt. It is irritating to busy, healthy people to be 

^ See "A Diplomatist's Wife in Many Lands." 
114 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

haunted by malevolent apparitions who have neither 
right nor place in our visible world. Of course one 
knows that many such apparitions are mere natural 
photographs reproduced only in exceptional and peculiar 
conditions of the atmosphere such as those which 
first witnessed them; such are, without doubt, the 
repetitions of battles seen again and again, as in 
1642, at Edgehill, where every Friday night (the con- 
flict had taken place on a Friday) for six weeks, the 
battle was fought over again, crowds of people watching 
it, and the whole business causing so much excitement 
that the King sent a commission to inquire into it. Simi- 
larly Culloden, and, it is said, Waterloo, have been also 
reproduced by some, to us, unknown cinematograph of 
Nature, but at irregular intervals; Malmaison has 
had to be closed to the public because the Parisians 
came in such crowds to watch the assembly of " Consul- 
ate " phantoms who showed themselves so frankly on 
its lawns quite recently. These apparitions do not in- 
spire the loathing which more personal ones of a bad 
kind arouse in us, and those which were let loose in Rome 
in the early eighties belonged to the latter class. Some 
English friends of ours, most practical, cheery people, 
had to leave their apartment on account of the molesta- 
tions of a creature in classical costume — with no head! 
The place was not big enough for him and the family, 
and the family had to go. My own experience was simi- 
lar in a way, but too disagreeable to narrate in detail. 
Our visitor troubled the children and the servants a little, 
but, I suppose because I was worried and run down and 
115 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

below par generally, fastened himself on me and followed 
me across the world. I did not get rid of him for several 
years, but I think it is quite possible that the original 
and real horror had so taken hold of my imagination 
that it reproduced it spontaneously afterwards. 

The " Villino " was really a charming little house with 
a tiny garden of its own, and it was the scene of a Christ- 
mas gathering which could never be repeated. Dear 
Uncle Sam was there, the benevolent genius of our chil- 
dren's Christmas Tree, and he, as well as my own dear 
people, Marion included, showered them with beautiful 
presents far beyond their then powers of counting. Since 
they have been grown men I have heard them recall their 
delight in a certain donkey and cart, and in a towering 
fortress of such dimensions that, with " Neddy " and the 
cart, it was too big to take away and had to be donated 
to the Children's Hospital when we left Rome in the sum- 
mer of 1884, never to return as a family. 

Towards February Uncle Sam went for a Mediter- 
ranean trip which was to occupy some weeks. When 
he turned his face towards home he found on the ship a 
very, very sick Englishman, a stranger to him, but to 
Uncle Sam a sick stranger became a brother at once. He 
disembarked with this poor man at Messina and remained 
there to nurse him well. But it was too much for him; 
he returned to Rome very ill himself, and for weeks 
and weeks lay helpless with fever and lung trouble. His 
dear, handsome face grew more pinched and shadowy 
every day; his mind turned towards the past, and when 
we came back from church on Palm Sunday, with the 
116 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

palms, he told us how vividly It reminded him of Medora 
and his boys, who used to bring them home to his old 
house in New York. He was much disappointed to miss 
the Holy Week functions; he " wanted to see the people 
crowding to the Confessionals; " that picture had taken 
hold of his fancy ! My eldest boy was 111 again all that 
spring, and In the beginning of May I took him away to 
the Tyrol. A few days later Marion and Daisy, and the 
*' Bon Secours " Sister who, with so much Illness, had 
become almost a member of our family, took the dear 
Uncle to Pegll, in the hope of his benefiting by the cooler 
northern airs. But three weeks later he died there, very 
peacefully, and there, by the sea, he was burled. He had 
given his life, not for a friend, but for a stranger, and 
*' no man can do more." 

Each time I returned to Rome I was saddened to find 
more empty places in the old " cadre " which had seemed 
so crowded with friends in my youth. One whom I still 
missed, though he died before my marriage, was General 
de Sonnaz. His kindness and gentleness had made a 
great impression on my rather butterfly mind. Our in- 
troduction to him was effected by Mr. Wurts, of the 
United States Legation. He was an old friend, and he 
suggested to my mother, sometime after the Italians took 
possession, that, since we were not Blacks or even Catho- 
lics, there was no particular reason why we should not 
go to Court and enjoy ourselves. But my dear mother 
was not easily persuaded and It was only after some 
hesitation that she consented. She was not Black, but 
she could not bring herself to approve of the Whites 
117 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

or their friends. Some of their Chiefs were too hope- 
lessly unreceivable — one cannot have an unfrocked 
monk lounging about in one's drawing-room, even though 
he be disguised as a general — and she refused to believe 
that any one who associated with them could escape being 
tainted. 

Still, Mr. Wurts was a very fastidious person, and, 
since he took the responsibility, she could feel reasonably 
sure that we should not have to meet the " quite-impos- 
sibles " ; so the good man arranged a dinner party, con- 
sisting of the Giannottis, General de Sonnaz, my sister 
Annie, and myself, and there it was that we were intro- 
duced to the old warrior. He struck us as a quiet, rather 
sad man; very pleasant, but very far away. His mind 
seemed to be moving in another world altogether, from 
which it would drag itself back to us almost painfully. 
He was very kind despite his absent-mindedness, and, 
our presentations, having been already arranged, took 
us under his wing when we first went to the Quirinal. 

He was afflicted with chronic bad luck, to which the 
fact that he had not distinguished himself more as a sol- 
dier was generally ascribed by those who knew him. 
Whatever may be said to the contrary, there is such a 
thing as pure luck, and no mathematician who ever lived 
could disprove it. Figures are the most unreliable things, 
and I have always been quite sure that the man who first 
said that they could not lie had no more than a bare nod- 
ding acquaintance with them. Despite the ill luck that 
dogged him, however, General de Sonnaz had risen high, 
both in the army — the original army of Sardinia, that 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

is to say, not the hotch-potch that it became afterwards 
— and in the estimation of all who knew him. The 
royal family loved him with a genuine devotion, 
and he was one of the most trusted advisers they ever 
had. 

He had been largely answerable for the disastrous result, 
of the battle of Custozza in 1848, by not arriving on the 
scene in time, and, though no one ever dreamt of taxing 
him with it, the knowledge of his responsibility must 
have helped to embitter him. 

He died in 1872, and the date is set in my memory 
by the circumstance of a ball which took place, that eve- 
ning, at the Gavottis. All knew that the poor General 
was ill, but no one expected his illness to end so suddenly, 
and when, in the evening, the news came, it was too late 
to stop the ball. But there was no dancing, because 
Princess Margaret sat in the royal apartment with her 
hostess and her ladies, and sobbed audibly all the 
evening. 

I was fond of the General, like everybody else, but I 
was young and I had a new frock. No one could leave 
until the Princess chose to pull herself together and make 
a move, or I would have slipped away, so I sat and 
chatted with a little American girl, who must have 
thought the Romans the most peculiar people in the 
world. Altogether, it was one of the most dismal eve- 
nings I can remember. 

It is curious, when one comes to think of it, that De 
Sonnaz, who was so largely instrumental in losing Cus- 
tozza, should have lived to be the greatest friend and 
119 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

most trusted adviser of the House of Savoy, while 
Ramorino, who did the same by the battle of Novara, 
should have been shot for it by Victor Emmanuel as 
soon as he came to the throne — despite the lamenta- 
tions of many fair ladies in Turin. 

In 1883 I met again a girl (she seemed hardly more 
then, though she was the wife of Prince Colonna and 
the mother of two children) who had been an adored 
friend in my own girlish days. Indeed, one of the most 
entrancing figures of the Rome of those days was Donna 
Teresa Caracciolo, the daughter of the Neapolitan Duke 
of San Teodoro, Her mother, originally an English- 
woman, a Miss Locke — who, after the Duke's death 
married Lord Walsingham — had found Naples un- 
congenial and lived partly at home, in England, and partly 
in Rome where she and Teresa rented the vast state 
apartments in Polazzo Buonaparte from my god-father, 
Mr. Hooker. 

I first remember Donna Teresa at a ball at which, as 
she explained, she had been allowed to appear as a great 
favour, about a year before she came out; a radiant 
vision of happy girlhood, dressed in the simplest of white 
frocks with a spray or two of fern upon it in lieu of 
flowers, her wonderful pure gold hair and dark eyes 
more than supplied the place of any artificial ornament. 
On looking back, it is hardly surprising that she should 
since have occupied so melancholy a place in the social 
chronicle of certain circles of her time. All else apart, 
however, it can be said of her, if of any one, that " none 
knew her but to love her " — for hers, indeed, was the 
120 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

" fatal gift " of beauty in an extraordinary degree, as 
well as a captivating charm of personality. 

She and her mother had a delightful custom of receiv- 
ing their friends every day for a single hour from two to 
three o'clock in the afternoon, Teresa occupying one 
drawing-room with her particular intimates of her own 
age and interests, and the Duchess another where the 
elders were in the habit of foregathering after lunch 
before separating for the '' trottata " or daily drive. At 
stated intervals of the year. Donna Teresa used to leave 
Rome on a visit to her father, San Teodoro, in Naples, 
where she would relapse into its pleasure-loving life with 
all the zest of a daughter of the South. Her father, 
whom some one with the Italian inveterate love of nick- 
names, christened " Santoto," took no interest in pohtics; 
but his grandfather had been a good deal concerned in 
the troublous doings of old King Ferdinand's reign — 
and that as a courtier of poor Murat's — so the marvel 
is that he should have survived the ultimate restoration of 
the Bourbons at all ! 

In seeing Donna Teresa sometimes talking with a 
mutual friend of us both. Donna Laura Minghetti — 
Laura Acton, as she had been — I could not help think- 
ing of how differently their respective ancestors, back 
in the dreadful years 1 799-1 806, had stood towards 
each other; Acton, the all-powerful English favourite 
of the ever-suspicious and timorous King Ferdinand — 
and San Teodoro, the wily opportunist, who was only 
waiting to see which way the ultimate victory was likely 
to decide before committing himself as a partisan of 
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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

reaction or of reform within the State. And when he did 
decide to take a definite stand as a follower of Murat, 
San Teodoro naturally put his money on the wrong 
horse — to use a slang phrase — and was saved only by 
the fact of his rival, Acton, having luckily, for San 
Teodoro, died in Sicily some time before Murat's down- 
fall. A relative of San Teodoro's, however, was less 
fortunate; I refer to Admiral Caracciolo, the intrepid 
comrade of Admiral Hotham in the victory over the 
French in 1794, and who, four years later, in 1798, 
proved himself, perhaps, the first seaman of his time in 
all the world, — certainly, at least, so far as the actual 
handling of his ship was concerned. It was on this occa- 
sion that, as has been held by many, he aroused against 
him the dislike of the great Nelson by his astonishing 
skill added to a consummate experience of his native 
waters. It was during the flight of King Ferdinand and 
Queen Carolina from Naples to Sicily, a few months 
after the battle of the Nile; the royal fugitives, with 
their family and possessions, were on board the flagship 
in Nelson's own charge, followed by the entire Anglo- 
Neapolitan fleet, including Carraciolo in command of 
the old Minerva which he had made famous by his 
prowess. No sooner had the fleet reached the lower 
part of the Tyrrhenian Sea, than a terrific storm 
broke loose, scattering the vessels and obliging many 
to put into different ports as best they could. This was 
not the case with Nelson, who stood, resolutely, on his 
way albeit it was all he could do to keep off the rocky 
coast of Calabria at all. At last a moment came when 
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TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

his distinguished passengers believed themselves to be 
within measurable distance of eternity. They were all 
sitting together in the main cabin of the ship when news 
of their danger reached them — the King and Queen 
with the English Minister, Hamilton, and his wife, the 
lovely Emma, all very much depressed. " It is my belief 
that we shall all shortly rejoin my son," remarked the 
Queen, thinking despondently of the infant who had died 
in Lady Hamilton's arms a few days earlier; the while 
her husband after bestowing a glance of reproach upon 
the Queen and Sir William Hamilton (as though they 
had been responsible for bringing his precious person 
into such peril ! ) apphed himself to prayer and to asking 
pardon for his sins in a loud voice. The others watched 
him apathetically as he did so. 

Suddenly, somebody (Lady Hamilton, I would 
be inclined to wager) left the group as though 
bored, and went over to one of the ship's windows 

— it was before the age of portholes In the cabins 

— and, looking out, gave a cry of surprise. To 
the astonishment of every one, a man-of-war, flying the 
Neapolitan colours, was seen steering securely along on 
her course, and slightly to rearward of the royal vessel 
as though nothing out of the ordinary were taking place. 
It was the M'uierva, as they saw presently, riding the 
waves In her place and at her ease, whilst the rest of 
the fleet (Including Nelson's ship) was being tossed 
hither and thither at the mercy of the tempest. The King 
at once recovered courage at the sight and expressed upon 
It an opinion so favourable to Caracciolo's seamanship, 

123 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

that Nelson, to whom his words were reported, took 
umbrage at them and with it an intense antipathy to his 
more skilful colleague. This antipathy, as may be im- 
agined, was not lessened when, on approaching Sicily, 
Nelson found himself compelled, by force of circum- 
stances, to hand over the conduct of his ship to a volun- 
teer pilot who had braved death in order to bring 
his Sovereign safely into port; soon after, Caracciolo's 
vessel came in precisely and unconcernedly, as though 
from a pleasure trip, to the further mortification of the 
hero of the Nile. 

I can scarcely believe that Nelson, usually so mag- 
nanimous, allowed the incident to weigh against his 
sense of justice when, in the following year, Caracciolo 
who, in the meantime, had joined the rebels in Naples 
under compulsion, fell as a prisoner into his hands. 
Nevertheless, it would almost appear as though he lent 
himself, on Lady Hamilton's persuasion (at the perfer- 
vid instance or, rather, command of Ferdinand and Caro- 
lina), to the repudiation of the amnesty guaranteed to the 
rebels as the price of their submission and the surren- 
der of the city on the day prior to his, Nelson's, arrival 
there. Also, it was solely by Nelson's orders that 
Caracciolo's trial was hurried on and that he was hanged 
without even the chance of an appeal to the King, or the 
proper examination of the proofs he desired to proffer 
in favour of his innocence of the crime of rebellion. 

The Caraccioli, however, as a family, were not free 
of the taint of treason towards their Sovereign; for it 
was one of them, Nicolo Caracciolo, who betrayed his 
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TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

trust as Governor of the castle of Saint Elmo — the key- 
to the possession of Naples — by treacherously admit- 
ting the French who were besieging the city under 
Championnet in that same bad year of 1799. Nicolo's 
brother, though, the Duke of Roccaromana, nobly made 
up for Nicolo's perfidy by his leadership of the loyal- 
ists of the city in the subsequent events. It has always 
seemed to me one of the most remarkable of facts that 
during the entire long period of political upheaval in 
the kingdom of Naples, the upper classes, generally 
speaking, should have taken the side of the French in- 
vaders with their Republican Doctrines, whilst the mon- 
archy found its devoted defenders in the " Lazzaroni," the 
poor and uneducated, but loyal, masses of the people. But 
It must be acknowledged that there was little to choose be- 
tween either party for ruthless savagery; if the Laz- 
zaroni were guilty of such atrocities as those of cooking 
and devouring the bodies of their victims, as well as of 
all the worst horrors of brigandage, their opponents 
had to answer for massacre, rapine, and pillage; if the 
names of Fra Diavolo, Sciarpa, Rodio, and Mammone 
have been rightly held up to obloquy, those of their oppo- 
nents Watrin and Manhes are no less deserving of the 
same fate. Not a town or a village, for mile upon mile 
throughout Campania, Apulia, and Basilicata, without 
its doleful memories of those and later horrors; as well 
as, in many cases, actual memorials in the shape of rude 
crosses by the wayside or, simply, painted on the walls 
— the mark of a sudden and violent death In the 
*' Regno." 

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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Of Fra Diavolo and his colleagues so many legends 
have been spread abroad, both in Italy and elsewhere, 
that their names must be already familiar to the reader 
— that of Fra Diavolo himself particularly so. And 
not without reason; for seven years, this man whose 
name was Michele Pezza, a native of Itri, defied the 
efforts, both of foreign invaders and domestic rebels and 
traitors to their king, to capture or defeat him. Among 
his colleagues, too, several were far harsher than Fra 
Diavolo in their treatment of such opponents as fell 
into their hands. Gaetano Mammone, for instance, is 
said to have murdered whole communities in his mani- 
acal fury. But if the brigands were atrociously cruel — 
as cannot be denied — their adversaries such as General 
Manhes, were, as I have said before, equally so. 

Manhes, it must not be forgotten, was acting 
under orders from Murat as King of Naples from 
1806 onward; and it was in accordance with a law of 
his own making that Murat himself was put to death in 
1 8 15. Indeed, one cannot help thinking that many of the 
actors in the orgy of bloodshed which reigned in the 
kingdom of Naples for some twenty years were hardly 
in their right minds; from Prince Canoza, the chief 
minister, down to the unjust judges, his satellites, Guido- 
baldi and Speciale, — the latter of whom died a 
raving lunatic. Certainly, Fra Diavolo and his kind 
were better men than these — having, at least, the merit 
of risking their lives in active combat. 

But all this has taken me away from the Caraccioli. 
If there is one distinction of which certain great families 
126 



TYRANTS, SOLDIERS, AND SAILORS 

of Italy have a right to be especially proud it is that they 
number among their ancestors men and women who have 
been named as saints by the Church. This was the case 
with Donna Teresa's family who boasted of at least one 
such forbear in the person of Saint Francis Caracciolo 
canonised by Pius VII in 1807. Saint Francis was 
one of the founders of the " Minori " or " Clerks Regu- 
lar Minor." His co-operation in this undertaking was 
brought about by one of those apparently trifling inci- 
dents — the accidental opening of a letter intended for 
another but addressed by chance to himself; at his death 
in 1608 his body was buried in the Church of Santa Maria 
Maggiore in Naples not far from that of Santa Maria 
in La Catena in Santa Lucia where poor Admiral 
Caracciolo's remains were hastily flung nearly two cen- 
turies later. There is a curious story in connection with 
the Admiral's obsequies. After hanging for some hours 
at the yard-arm of the Minerva, his body was taken 
down, and Nelson's favourite, Hardy, himself fastened 
a fifty-two pound weight to the feet; it was then cast 
into the sea. The next day King Ferdinand, leaning over 
the side of the ship which had brought him from Sicily and 
which he was unwilling to leave until all was perfectly se- 
cure on land, saw, far away, a figure which the waves were 
driving towards him. As it came nearer, his hair began 
to rise upon his head with superstitious terror; what he 
was looking at was a human corpse, more than half out 
of the water, its face livid and menacing, turned up 
towards his own. "Caracciolo!" he exclaimed; and 
then, turning to some companions near by, he asked them 
127 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

what it could be that the dead man wanted of him. In 
answer, one of the bystanders suggested that Caracclolo 
might, after all, be only behaving thus by way of estab- 
lishing his claims to Christian burial — for which the 
terrified monarch at once gave his permission ! 



128 



VI 

FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

The Cocumella, a Haven of Rest — Sorrento Sailors and Their Families — 
The Influence of the Religious Sodalities — Faith's Insurances — On the 
Crest of the Pass — The Road to Amalfi — Rival Ports — Salerno and 
the Crusaders — An Alarming Journey and a Considerate Villain — The 
De Raasloff" Family — My Friend Anna — A Bit out of the Bible of 
Youth — Anna in Thuringia — The Frau Hof-Pastorin' s Convict 
Christmas Party — " Beata Lei! " 

I BELIEVE it has usually been the custom to count 
youth's life by summers — that of maturer persons 
by winters, but in looking back over my own existence the 
summers stand out as landmarks still, and I have no de- 
sire to change the climate of my memories. The month 
of June in 1883 must have been a very lucky one, for 
It made possible one of those reunions which have 
been so rare in our erratic family destinies. My 
husband, who seemed to be needed only when the 
Ambassador went home on leave, had to spend a good 
deal of the time in Rome, but the children needed a few 
months by the sea and we decided on Sorrento for them 
and myself, Hugh coming down for a day or two when- 
ever it should be possible. Close on my tracks came my 
brother Marion, also longing for the sea, and two or 
three weeks later my mother and step-father, with my 
sister Daisy, joined the party, so that the Hotel Cocu- 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

mella at Saint Agnello was fairly full of our clan. The 
place is known and loved by many, but for those who 
know it not let me say something about its strange home- 
like charm, so that if ever any world-battered pilgrim 
like myself dreams of rest, he may realise his dreams 
in that remote and peaceful haven. The " Cocumella " 
(the word signifies pumpkin in that part of the world) 
was once a House of the Jesuits, and though they have 
never returned to it since Napoleon turned them out, 
the atmosphere of ascetic calm clings to it still. A large 
three-storied building, honeycombed with terraces, runs 
round three sides of a stone courtyard. On the fourth 
is a low wall with an archway in the centre leading down 
a few steps to a long, straight path that runs between 
clustering orange trees. At the end of the path a mimic 
redoubt rises against the sky, and when you have climbed 
into it you have the Bay of Naples spread out before 
you in dazzling beauty, and, some two hundred feet 
below, the sunshot waters of the Mediterranean lapping 
against the cliffs and spreading laces of foam over the 
narrow beach that the cliffs enclose on either hand. 

There, if you arrive late in the day, you will pause, 
for the descent to and ascent from the shore through 
dark galleries and stairways cut in the rock is better 
suited for the morning than the evening hours; and be- 
sides, a summer sunset on the Bay of Naples, however 
many such one may have seen, is a sight to watch silently 
till the last crimson streamers are fading into purple 
and the " moment shuts the glory from the grey." Then 
turn back between the orange trees, inhale the moist 
130 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

richness of the dark tossed earth about their roots, and 
for company's sake pluck a red carnation or a sprig 
of verbena from the side of the path and mount to your 
own quiet apartment, to sit on the terrace and watch 
the stars come out over Naples and the sea — and, if fate 
is kind, see a great full moon roll up into the sky above 
the crags of Monte Sant' Angelo. 

No one will disturb you unless it be " Vincenzo " 
bringing your evening meal to the sitting-room where in 
old days some Jesuit Father studied and prayed. Above 
the further door, carved in the stone niche, is one word, 
" Silentio." That which leads to the bedroom bears 
the legend " Contritio," and yet another, " Dilectio." 
Silence, contrition, love — they are voices from another 
world, and the rude, hostile noises from this one die away 
in one's ears and the heart finds peace. By and by, 
when the dark has really come, the delicate tinkle of a 
mandolin will float up as the prelude to some gay old 
love song, sung as only the Sorrentini can sing, the rich, 
dancing notes coming straight from the unburdened 
heart. It passes on and dies away — and down among 
the orange trees, or in the ilex that hangs so dizzily over 
the cliff, a nightingale suddenly fills the night with silver 
rhapsody. 

Look for your worries and perplexities then! They 
are gone — there is no yesterday and no to-morrow — 
the peace of the place has taken you to itself and you 
can lie down and sleep like a little child. 

The nights are generally cool even in the great heats 
of summer, but I remember one which drove me out to 
131 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

a hammock on the terrace. There was a moon, and the 
little white cat, known as " The Principessa," that my 
small boy had brought from Rome, came and lay on my 
feet and purred fairy stories till dawn. The " Penisola " 
Is full of fairy stories. Marion's sailors used to tell them 
to one another by the hour, and my brother at last 
discovered that the tales were actually those of the 
Arabian Knights, with Italian personages and places 
substituted for the Eastern ones. The old fellow we 
called " San Pietro " was the most popular raconteur, 
but his " verve " failed a little in later life when the 
others, seeing that lonely age lay before him, took matters 
into their own hands and married him to a respectable 
widow woman who kept him clean and fed him well, 
but who did not bring an element of gaiety into his simple 
existence. The others all married early, after the cus- 
tom of the country, and exercised the traditional master- 
ship in their own homes. Woe to the wife who had not 
the clean clothes laid out and the hot foot tub ready to 
bathe her lord's feet when he returned from his day's 
work! Also a properly cooked supper with a fresh 
tablecloth to serve it on! As the years passed by, their 
families grew up around them, bright, handsome boys 
and girls, contemporaries of my brother's children, form- 
ing a kind of clan round Villa Crawford and connected 
with us all by the tie of almost-relationship which 
holds from generation to generation between masters 
and servants in Italy. 

If our sailors were somewhat tyrannical at home, they 
were, without exception, good husbands and fathers, 
132 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

sober, kind, and devoted to their families. Indeed the 
sea-going men were a race by themselves and far supe- 
rior in character to the cultivators of the soil. The sea- 
men mostly had traces of Saracen ancestorship which 
showed itself in a certain proud honesty and inde- 
pendence of character which seems wanting In the 
dwellers on land, who, my brother thought, were de- 
scended directly from the slaves and dependants of the 
rich Romans whose villas dotted all this side of the Peni- 
sola Sorrentlna before the destruction of Pompeii. The 
great landholders of this district were the Neapolitan 
Colonnas, but they rarely showed themselves there, and 
the most influential class was that of the " Bourgeoisie," 
the prosperous fruitgrowers and shipbuilders, who em- 
ployed much labour. Their opinions carried the day in 
public matters and their modes of life and thought were 
regarded as the standard for the entire community. Things 
have changed in some ways now, with the installation of 
speedy transit and the consequent Influx of strangers from 
places possessing no standards at all, but, until ten years 
ago, at least, I can testify that the homes of the well-to- 
do small owners were run on the old lines with all the old 
success. The many children were taught to live fru- 
gally, obey and help their parents, and love their reli- 
gion; to fulfill their tasks and duties from the highest 
of motives and to shun bad company and occasions of 
sin. The whole family recited the Rosary together daily, 
and took joyous part in the various religious " festas " 
of the year, the occasions which in that happy country 
supply gaiety, colour, emulation, music — even the 
133 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

healthy excitement that young people of other lands 
have to seek in society, and, too often, in dissipation. 

Boys and girls, young men and maids, matrons and 
heads of families all belonged to one or other of the 
Sodalities which play so large a part in popular life in 
southern Italy. When its particular patronal Feast is 
due, the Sodality, whichever It may be, takes entire com- 
mand of the arrangements and decorations, and supplies 
the necessary funds. And a Sodality is a republic gov- 
erned by religion; all the members enjoy equal rights 
and equal respect; the rich ones give generously; the 
poor contribute according to their means In money and 
make up for their disabilities in that respect by giving 
their time, and by taking unlimited trouble over the 
decorations, which are elaborate and beautiful in the ex- 
treme, while all the other Sodalities turn out in force 
to join in the procession and add to the dignity of the 
ceremonial. 

Throughout the year certain members of the Sodal- 
ity, generally young girls of irreproachable character 
aided by some pious old maid — and there Is quite a 
sprinkling of these In our Penisola — take charge of the 
banners, pictures, and sacred images which belong to It 
and which are brought out gleaming and fresh to be car- 
ried in the procession. These caretakers are all working 
people depending on their own efforts for their liveli- 
hood, but there never seems to be any conflict between 
their work for themselves and their work for the glory of 
God. Of course competition and its attendant horrors 
of " sweating " are unknown, and also the extreme sim- 
134 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

plicity of living and the luxuriant richness of the soil 
made bread-winning far less of a trial to them than to 
most of our fellow-men. Yet, with all that, one cannot 
but be struck by the simple generosity with which all is 
given so gladly and smilingly for what, in the North, we 
should call an impersonal object. The self-denial which 
refuses all unnecessary outlay in table expenses, in fur- 
niture, in personal adornment, becomes openhanded 
lavishness where the honour of God, or of Our Lady 
and the Saints is in question, while the really poor and 
the suffering are never forgotten, though very little is 
said about what Is done for them. As an instance of 
private charity I will mention a certain family of ship- 
builders and traders, who have grown very wealthy 
through the Industry of several generations. Their big 
sailing vessels are well known even in American ports, 
where they land their cargoes of oil and oranges and 
lemons. From father to son one rule has held In that 
family. Every time they send a vessel to sea they take 
the sum which they would otherwise have paid for in- 
surance, and give it to the poor. They have never lost a 
vessel. 

To return to the Sodalities, there is one supreme point 
to be marked in their favour — that of the high charac- 
ter required of the members. No drinker or gambler 
may wear that honoured badge; any lapse from morality, 
any breaking of the commandments, any lightness of 
conduct or disregard of family duties is punished with 
expulsion, and such expulsion would entail undying dis- 
grace In the eyes of the whole community. Could merely 
135 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

secular associations, however respectable, ever exercise 
so inspiring and restraining an influence on private and 
public life? 

The organisation keeps the people In close touch with 
the Church, makes religion not a mere matter of duty, 
but of love and pleasure, and draws all classes together 
with bonds that defy dissolution. The geographical 
position of the little peninsula has doubtless contributed 
greatly to the preservation of its best traditions. The 
Piano dl Sorrento, with Its redundant richness and beauty, 
lies, like a priceless gem in a strong man's treasure 
house, guarded by rocky walls on three sides and afford- 
ing access from the fourth only by the difficult ascent 
of the cliffs that rise sheer from the sea. When I first 
went there, as a little girl, we had to take a rowing boat 
at Castellammare and skirt the coast till It brought us to 
the Sant' Agnello or the Sorrento Marina, and provisions 
and postal matter travelled in the same way. Later on 
the present magnificent carriage road was cut, passing 
over the canyon-like ravines on great viaducts, as far as 
Massa, the last town on the point of the promontory 
which divides the Bay of Naples from the Gulf of 
Salerno. By 1883 the road had been continued round 
the point and along the southern side of the Peninsula 
as far as Praiano, whence, to reach Amalfi, one had to 
take to the sea again for an hour or so. At my next 
visit some six years later, the connection with Amalfi 
and on to Salerno was completed, and the whole now 
affords the most wonderful drive In the world, I think. 
Many others who have travelled far and wide have 
136 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

agreed with me on that point. It is impossible to im- 
agine scenery more lovely in its softer aspects, more 
grandiose in its rugged ones. When one has climbed 
the hill and left Massa behind, one has come into another 
country, another climate; there are no more deep vine- 
yards dropping from terrace to terrace of rich dark earth; 
no more orange groves or lemon nurseries matted from 
the gales and sunk deep in sheltered ravines to preserve 
the delicate fruit. This side of the Gulf of Salerno faces 
due south, but the soil lies too dry and loose on the 
scarps to afford roothold and nourishment for those ten- 
der and hungry trees. On the small, irregular plateau 
that marks the top of the pass the olives still grow, but 
scantily and timidly, buffeted as they so often are by the 
north wind, which has forced them all to lean over 
towards the south, as if looking down in envy at the 
aloes and cacti that cling to the sun-baked rock, the 
rock that forms one sheer wall, its top the playground of 
all the winds of heaven — its base lost in the ever-mov- 
ing water of the sea below. 

I know of no place on earth that smells sweeter than 
that rocky crown. It is as if from the beginning of the 
world nothing had passed or grown there that was not 
supernally clean and sweet — sweet in the old English 
sense of purity and haleness, not fragrant at all, but just 
life-giving and healing. Bitter clean are the immortelles 
that powder the rifts, brave and fresh the scarce purple 
blossoms of the scabious and the still scarcer ones of 
the yellow saxifrage. The true atmosphere and spirit 
of the sea is always of the North; to that one's soul 
137 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

turns blindly in moments of exhaustion or restlessness; 
here, where the scents are all of the North, the long, 
sharp swords of the aloes and the prickly shields of the 
cacti that guard the outer edge of the road strike a 
note almost of discord — and leaning over the low 
parapet, one comes back from some long unconscious 
dream excursion to wonder whether one is in Italy or 
Algeria? 

One glance at the sea below is all that is needed for 
the mind's orientation. From that dizzy height one looks 
down into clear, unmeasured depths of flooding colour 
through colour that we have no adequate name for here, 
a blue that draws every tint of sky and air above to it- 
self, and binds them in its calm, translucent crystal to a 
living tide where sapphire pales to azure shot with 
emerald — azure and emerald in their turn deepen to 
lapis lazuli; and lapis lazuli, darkened to amethyst, lies 
In ever-narrowing streaks on the broad, level waters, till 
far across the gulf, where Circe's mystic promontory 
raises its outline against the southern horizon, all is 
merged in a vast unruffled unity of heaven's own blue 
— the dream flash of the Kingfisher's wing painted 
broad across that jewel of the world, the Tyrrhenian 
Sea. 

As one drives along the high, winding road cut In the 
very face of the rock, delving far Inwards where some 
ravine cleaves the coast and clinging dizzily to the outer 
edge of each outstanding grey shoulder. It seems as if 
peace must have brooded over these places from the 
day of the Creation; but in truth the Gulf of Salerno 
138 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

was again and again crowded with vessels and fighting 
men; great was the rivalry between the cities of Amalfi 
and Salerno in commerce, in shipbuilding, and especially 
for the honour of being the port of embarkation for the 
Crusades. This privilege went to Salerno, with its wide 
harbour and low shore, and bitterly must proud little 
rockbound Amalfi — the sister Republic — have watched 
the forests of masts all flying their red cross beside the 
royal emblem of France or England, Austria or Spain, 
as they rocked to and fro over there at the head of the 
Gulf, while the learned University town itself was over- 
run with splendid knights from every quarter of Chris- 
tendom, ruffling it through the sunny streets with crowds 
of swaggering, steel-clad men in their train. There 
were times then when Salerno was the gayest and most 
fashionable place in Europe — but it took these transi- 
tory glories soberly; its innkeepers and ship chandlers 
certainly fleeced the noble Crusaders of much money, 
and doubtless mourned bitterly when crusading went 
out of fashion, but the rest of the inhabitants did not, 
I imagine, share their regrets. The sturdy little city 
had its solid sources of income, and its own claims to 
distinction in the names of many learned men who had 
been scholars of its University; and the period of its 
decadence must have been a very quiet and undisturbed 
one. 

Now It is just a memory, a tiny place all peace and 

palm trees and fishing boats, for most people merely pass 

through the station where they leave the train and take 

carriage for Paestum, the dream Temple whose white 

139 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

loveliness, rising from its caqDet of violets that send their 
perfume far out to sea, remains through life in one's mind 
as one of the three or four flawlessly perfect things in this 
fallen world. 

My first visit to Salerno came about in this wise. A 
few weeks after my sister Annie had married Erich von 
Rabe, they asked me to go down to Naples and spend a 
little time with them there. I forget how I got to Naples 
— some friends of course took me under their wing — 
but on arriving I found our " Sposi " installed in a 
romantic balconied apartment in the old palace of Queen 
Joanna. The sea lapped three sides of the walls, the 
balconies looked down into the waves, and everything 
was charming — only I discovered at once that in spite 
of sisterly affection and the sincerity of their invitation, 
it was too soon for a third person to be anything but a 
" terzo incommodo " in the household. My dearest 
friend, Anna de Raasloff, was at Salerno with her father 
and mother, and I wired to know if I could join them. 
The reply took the shape of a " hurrah " — for Anna 
and I had grown very close to each other all through 
that year, and both our destinies were on the point of 
being decided just then, so that it was quite a grief to be 
separated. I was madly in love — with the right man; 
she, poor darling, with the wrong one; both of us 
had to talk or die ! So in fear and trembling at my own 
daring, I undertook to break all the rules and travel 
across to Salerno alone. Erich put me into the train, and 
a heavy tip to the guard was supposed to ensure my 
having a compartment to myself all the way. Only a 
140 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

girl brought up In Italy could understand the chill of 
terror that overwhelmed me when, at the next station, 
the door was flung open and a young man sprang into 
the carriage ! I was sure my doom was sealed — he 
would either kiss me or cut my throat long before the 
blessed haven of Salerno was reached. I did not dare 
to look at him for quite an hour, and then, having got a 
stiff neck with observing the landscape, I stole a glance 
at my companion, where he sat in the corner farthest 
away from me. He was a quiet-looking villain, at any 
rate, with dark eyes and a black beard, and, though he 
pretended to be reading, I felt that he was watching me 
as closely as I was watching him. 

The evening grew cold — I had but a thin town frock 
on, and dared not close the window for fear of giving 
him an excuse to move or speak to me. So, for another 
hour I sat, shivering visibly, between fright and cold — 
and then I almost shrieked, for my villain jumped up 
suddenly and began fumbling In a portmanteau In the 
net above his head. Was he going to produce a pistol? 
I set my teeth to meet my end like a lady; and then the 
villain, in dead silence, came over to my corner, shook out 
a splendid great Scotch plaid, and, without a word, pro- 
ceeded to tuck it all round and over me in the most com- 
forting way, closed my window, and went back to his 
seat without having even looked In my face. One feeble 
" Thanks " was all that I could find to say, and not 
another word was exchanged till we drew up at the 
Salerno station where my friends were waiting for me; 
but the little episode cured me of my Idiotic terror of 
141 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

solitary travelling. In later years, when I have had to 
fly across the world alone, with all my money and valu- 
ables in my pocket, I have found it prudent to carry a 
little Derringer, four inches long with a "41 " bullet, a 
thoroughly satisfactory weapon at close quarters; I 
have once or twice had to let people catch a glint of the 
pretty thing, but that was enough — thank Heaven I have 
never had to use it. My youngest son, however, took its 
twin brother to South Africa in 1899, and endorses the 
merits of the weapon — for close quarters only. 

I have strayed a little from Salerno and certain mem- 
ories for which I plead a little space — " right here," as 
my Western compatriots say. If it be worth while to tell 
what one remembers about names known to all the world, 
it Is also worth while, in the best sense, I think, to per- 
petuate the rarer memories of beautiful characters whose 
friendship and companionship have lightened many dark 
places in one's life. Friendship was a virtue of the gen- 
eration before my own; modern people really and truly 
have not the time to devote to the slow-growing beau- 
tiful thing which filled such an honourable place in chosen 
lives in those days. I have sinned against its lovely 
codes since, innumerable times, myself, but in spite of 
personal unworthiness, some friendships that I inher- 
ited, and some that came to me out of the blue, have 
never failed me once in all the years, and among the 
foremost cf these stands that of the De Raasloff family, 
though but one of the original members of it now re- 
mains — with me — on this side of the " Great Divide." 

It was after my sister's marriage early in 1874 that 
142 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

these enchanting people came to spend the winter in 
Rome, bringing my mother a letter from some other 
Scandinavian friends who had been our intimates some 
years earlier. We had a natural love for Scandinav- 
ians — one, our old music master, Raunkilde, had been 
almost a member of the family since I could remember 
any thing at all — and we were prepared to receive the 
De Raasloffs with open arms in any case. But if they had 
come from another planet it would have made no differ- 
ence; the moment we met it was love at first sight — 
love for the splendid handsome old General, a wit, a 
raconteur, a " charmeur " who could have broken any 
woman's heart even at that age; love for his dear 
motherly " grande dame " wife, and love above all, for 
their daughter, one of those subtly, inexplicably fascinat- 
ing women who seem born to bring out the best in all 
with whom they come in contact. My dear Mother, 
who certainly spoke with authority, defined a friend as 
" a person who helps you to the best in yourself." Anna 
de Raasloff would have taught a stone how to love — 
a reptile how to aspire. She came to me just at the 
moment when life looked more full and beautiful than 
it had ever looked before, when I had a right to be inter- 
ested in myself because the only man in the world was 
interested in me. I was for once holding out my arms 
to all that was good and high and lovely, and through 
those perfect months my Anna was my other wing! To- 
gether we soared through heavenly places, she realising 
her own sorrow in my happiness, and eventually, I 
believe, through that very unselfishness, finding her own 
143 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

— which had been waiting for her with quiet faithfulness 
till she was ready to appreciate it. 

I am writing these words in my own month of April on 
the anniversary of the crowning day of my life, that of my 
engagement. Thirty-seven years have passed since then, 
and I am the only one left to remember it, but nothing that 
has come since has robbed that period of its divine perfec- 
tion, and I realise now how much was added to it by that 
great-hearted soul-sister. Her lovely pale face, changing 
as the April sky and the lovelier for each change, her great 
brown eyes radiant with love and courage, the very wav- 
ing of the breeze in her soft golden curls — it all comes 
back to me like a bit out of the Bible of Youth, a verity 
of love and understanding tenderness that will abide with 
me till we meet again. 

Very different were our destinies. She, the daughter 
of one of the most prominent men in Denmark, 
married, a little later, Arno Trautvetter, a Lutheran 
clergyman, with whose theology I had no sym- 
pathy, but whom in every other way I admired and re- 
vered. With him she spent some time in Egypt where 
her little daughter was born, and then they went home 
to Rudolstadt in Thiiringen, where I found my Anna 
fifteen years afterwards, in a wonderful old German 
house which somehow she had filled from roof to cellar 
with her own serenely untrammelled cosmopolitan 
atmosphere. She was as young — younger than — her 
own daughter, her wide sympathies embraced every soul 
in the little old town, from the reigning Princess (Arno 
was the royal chaplain) to the poor prisoners, for whom, 
144 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

just before I arrived, she had been making a " home " 
Christmas, such as, I venture to say, few prisons In the 
world have ever witnessed. Taking advantage of her 
husband's official position, she boldly asked that all the 
men, whatever had been their crime, should be handed 
over to her for that one evening, In the great hall of the 
prison, without the restraining presence of a single war- 
den or official. This cost her a battle, but she won her 
point, and then (she had been a constant visitor to all 
the cells) she went and told the men about it, appealing 
simply to their sense of chivalry — not dead In any of 
them, as the sequel showed — to justify her confidence 
In them and make no trouble of any kind. They knew 
and loved her well; for years she had done everything 
she could to lighten the lot which those unfortunate ones 
had brought on themselves. When they had served their 
time it was always the " Frau Hof-Pastorin " who helped 
them to regain their self-respect and find means of earn- 
ing an honest livelihood, and so many of her efforts 
in that direction were crowned with success that we all 
felt sure she had got at the " root of the matter," when 
she declared that the hardened criminal is generally an 
accident. Once sentenced to a term, long or short, unless 
somebody helps him, he will not believe in the possi- 
bility or worthwhileness of becoming a decent member of 
society again. But if somebody else Is evidently convinced 
that there is a place In the world for him still, he very 
often tries to fill It. 

I know that there Is nothing In the least original In 
this view and that the effort has been made by many 
145 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

sincere and hard-working people. If I may venture 
to say so, I think its constant failure in England and 
America is due to two causes. The first is that the 
liberated prisoners with us are dealt with as a class — 
whereas it is only by an appeal to the individual, lifting 
him right away from that class, that such cases can be 
effectually reached; the second is the enormous flood 
of criminal literature in books, magazines, and above all, 
in newspapers, which constantly works up the offender 
against society as " clever," " bright," " plucky," " reck- 
less," etc., etc. — making of him a lurid fascinating hero 
who appeals irresistibly to the excitable Imagination and 
hunger for notoriety which form such a large part of the 
ordinary criminal's make-up. A wise censorship of de- 
tective stories and police news would relieve both Eng- 
land and the United States of quite half the burden they 
now carry in the support of convicted criminals. There 
is far less of this hideous literature abroad, and what 
there is comes very little Into the lives of the lower 
classes, where life is much harder and the struggle for it 
more absorbing than with us. 

To return to my friend and her Christmas party — 
It proved the greatest possible success. The great tree 
was all lighted and heavy with presents — tobacco and 
sweetmeats and fruit, and little gifts of socks and under- 
clothing for each man, — Anna had taken the greatest 
trouble to find out what would be most welcome — and as 
they filed in and took their places in the hall she herself 
was sitting at the harmonicum and started one of the old 
Christmas hymns that every man there must have heard 
146 



FRIENDS AND FRIENDLY PLACES 

in his childhood. In a moment they were all singing it 
from their very hearts, and she told me that when she 
looked round she saw that many of them were crying. 
More hymns followed. Then the distribution of the 
gifts with cheery talk and jokes and laughter — that one 
little golden-haired woman as hostess and mother and 
friend, going from one to another as if in her own house 
among the most spotless lights of society — "And, my 
dear," she wound up by telling me, " they not only be- 
haved well, they behaved like gentlemen and Christians! 
As for me, it was the happiest evening of my life! I 
know it will help some of them back into the right way." 
" I was in prison and ye visited Me." My Anna went 
home to The Heavenly Prisoner a few years since. 
Beata Let — those words were surely said for her. 



147 



VII 

NORTH OF THE ALPS 

A Danish Subaltern — The Schleswig-Holstein Riddle — De RaaslofF 
Settles the Elsinore Complication — The Pitiful Story of a Young Queen 

— Von Moltke' s Boyhood — A Stem Tutor — Too Much Goat ! — A 
Nameless Student and a Gruesome Parcel — Von Moltke' s First Sight of 
the Prussian Army Decides His Fate — His Long Struggle with Poverty — 
His Patience and Perseverance — Discouragement and Projected Emigra- 
tion to Australia in Middle Life — The Emperor's Attachment to Him 

— Count Seckendorff Makes a Little Mistake — The Crown Prince's Ser- 
vant — " Nanti Strumpf," the German Pasquino. 

THE mention of General de Raasloff's family takes 
me away from southern Italy for a while and back 
to a host of widely different associations connected with 
northern Europe, namely of military nature. 

General de Raasloff himself was always for me one 
of the strongest links between my own day and that of 
a past generation which had witnessed a period, in 
some ways, perhaps, one of the most eventful of 
European history — that following upon the time of 
general political reaction which had succeeded to the era 
of the first Napoleon. Beginning his career as a subaltern 
of artillery In the Danish army — although a Holstelner by 
birth — in the thirties of the last century, De Raasloff 
soon began to look about him for a chance to make ex- 
perience of actual warfare and so acquire a more practical 
knowledge of his own branch of the service. The chance 
148 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

came to him in 1841 during the campaign of the French 
against Abd-el-Kader in Algeria; having obtained ex- 
tended leave of absence, De Raasloff became attached as 
a volunteer to the staff of the Due d'Aumale, on whose side 
he went through the long and wearisome campaign which 
came to a head with the victory of General Bugeaud over 
Abd-el-Kader at the river Isly in August, 1844. Prior to 
this my friend had been present at the taking of the Emir's 
great camp in 1843, with its amazing treasury of riches 
and the whole of Abd-el-Kader's family and his herds of 
horses, camels, and sheep. That was in the days when the 
*' Foreign Legion " had yet to make its name for reckless 
courage and iron discipline; when it numbered among its 
members such men as MacMahon, Negrier, and Chanzy 
— together with the unfortunate Bazaine, who was des- 
tined, later, to render so terrible a disservice to his coun- 
try. The glory of the war was, however, fearfully tar- 
nished in the eyes of the civilised world by the cruelty 
committed on a party of Arabs at Zaatcha by General 
Pelissier. They had taken refuge from his troops in a 
cave, and, on being summoned to come out and surrender, 
refused; whereupon, he had the mouth of the cave 
stopped up with brushwood which was then set alight. 
It ended in the suffocation of the miserable Arabs to the 
number of five hundred or so, men, women, and children. 

This atrocity was repudiated by the French people and 
Government, but was excused by Bugeaud, who even 
procured promotion for his subordinate as a reward for 
the affair. 

It was about that time, too, that Pelissier distinguished 
149 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

himself in another way. Entering a restaurant, one day, 
in Algiers, he ordered a particular kind of omelette for 
his lunch — an omelette Tartare, if I remember rightly. 
When it was brought to him, to his fury he saw that the 
sauce had been poured beforehand over the omelette 
— for it happened that he preferred to season it 
himself. After heaping abuse on the waiter, there- 
fore, Pelissier wound up by throwing the whole, dish and 
all, in the man's face. Instantly, however, the General 
found himself seized in a grasp of iron and being punished 
as though he were a naughty boy. When the waiter 
had finished with him, moreover, in order to make a 
thoroughly good job of it, he threw the bruised, half- 
throttled Pelissier out into the street. The next day, how- 
ever, Pelissier made his appearance at the same restaur- 
ant — to the amazement of those who had witnessed 
the scene of the previous noon — as though nothing had 
happened. Seating himself, he ordered the same dish 
of the same waiter and this time the omelette was brought 
to him with the sauce in a separate vessel and he re- 
ceived it with a word of thanks. Taking a louts d'or from 
his pocket he handed it to the waiter. " Take it," he 
said, smiling. "You have earned it, my friend — yes- 
terday, for the first time, I met my match!" Which 
was much to his credit, it seems to me ! 

General de Raasloff's next experience of warfare 
came soon after his return to Denmark, when, on the 
death of King Christian VIII, the great question of the 
succession to the territory of Schleswig-Holstein burst 
upon an unready world. To this day that same question 
150 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

is a favourite one of the worthies appointed to examine 
candidates for the Diplomatic Service. It was Lord Pal- 
merston who, in after years, said of it — " There are, 
or were, three persons who really knew the rights of the 
Schleswig-Holstein question; one was the Dowager 
Queen of Denmark; God Almighty is another, and the 
third is a German professor — and he's gone mad!" 
The Danes said that the Duchies were an inseparable 
part of Denmark, and the Schleswig-Holsteiners them- 
selves, a German-speaking people, declared themselves 
to be Germans and the subjects of the German Duke of 
Augustenburg. The Germans promptly came to their 
help against Denmark; but not before the Danes had 
inflicted a severe defeat on the Holsteiners at Flensborg. 
This success was countered, however, by the Germans 
under Wrangle and Halkett in a second battle on April 
23, 1848, in which the Danes — outnumbered by more 
than two to one — were compelled to fall back towards 
Denmark. Suddenly, the Germans received orders from 
Berlin to retire southward, and the first part of the 
war came to an end with the seven months' truce of 
" Malmo." It began again, though, the next year, and 
lasted until the decisive victory of the Danes over the 
Holsteiners at Fridericia in July, 1849. There followed 
a treaty of peace with Prussia, who had hitherto been 
helping the insurgents; and then the latter were finally 
defeated signally at Idstedt by General Krogh — after 
which the vexatious " Question " remained in abeyance 
until 1864! De Raasloff, who had distinguished him- 
self by his handling of his battery on every possible 
151 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

occasion, resigned his commission after the battle of 
Idstedt in the supposition that there would be no recur- 
rence of active service, and came to America in search 
of fresh fields for his abilities — to his subsequent re- 
gret, I have no doubt, when war broke out again a few 
years later. His interest in the affairs of his country- 
had by no means diminished, however; and it was by 
his advice that the vexatious problem of the dues, paid 
by every passing ship to the Castle of Elsinore on enter- 
ing the Sound, was solved by the Danish authorities' ac- 
ceptance of a lump sum, instead, from the seafaring 
nations. After being successively Consul General in 
New York and Minister Plenipotentiary in Washing- 
ton, he went home to take over the Portfolio of War 
In the Ministry of Count Fries, after the war with 
Prussia. This post he held until 1870, when the refusal 
by Denmark to ratify the sale of its West India Islands 
to the United States placed him in the position of having 
to resign, as a protest against the action of his Govern- 
ment. Thereupon, he was sent as a special envoy to 
China where I met him, in Pekin.^ 

His reminiscences covered an immense ground, seeing 
that among the Danish society of his youth there were still 
living elderly persons whose recollections went back sixty 
years and even more, to the early days of King Christian 
VII and the terrific drama of his luckless consort, Queen 
Caroline Mathilda. There are few episodes In modern 
history with quite the same poignant horror as that of 
poor, pretty, foolish but innocent Caroline Mathilda and 

1 See " A Diplomatist's Wife in Many Lands." 
152 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

her husband's wicked step-mother, Juliana Maria of 
Brunswick. 

The situation between the two women was quite 
clear from the first; on the one side was Juliana Maria 
with her young son, Frederick, whose accession to the 
throne was the one purpose of his mother's existence; on 
the other was the young King (the son of Juliana 
Maria's husband, by that monarch's first wife, Louisa 
of England) and his girl-wife, Caroline. The King, 
who was feeble both In mind and body, detested his 
strong-willed step-mother and, for all Juliana Maria's 
caution, suspected her intentions towards himself from 
the first moment of his accession to the throne as a boy 
of seventeen. Thus, he dismissed from his service all 
who had enjoyed the Queen Dowager's favour during 
the late reign and gave their posts to favourites of his 
own choosing. The chief power in the kingdom fell Into 
the hands of a certain Count Hoik — about as evil a 
liver as any on record, by all accounts. 

When in 1768, the King (already half an imbecile, 
thanks to the vicious habits he had learned from Hoik who 
had apparently been acting, throughout, in perfect under- 
standing with the Queen Dowager) made a tour of the 
European courts, a certain Doctor Struensee was ap- 
pointed to accompany him as his physician. Struensee 
soon came to acquire a boundless influence over the King 
(who was now frightened at his own mental and physical 
condition), by repairing to some extent the ravages of 
his previous dissipations. In the end, Struensee replaced 
the worthless Hoik In the monarch's esteem, and induced 
153 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the latter to recall to power one of his exiled ministers, 
Count Rantzau-Ascheberg whom Struensee had met in 
Paris and whom, I take it, he thought to use as an inter- 
mediary between himself and Queen Juliana Maria — and 
so make to himself " friends of the Mammon of Unright- 
eousness " in case he should lose the favour of his fickle 
master at any time. 

With Rantzau returned another exile. Count* 
Brandt, destined to become Struensee's " ame damnee." 
At once Struensee set himself to gaining the confi- 
dence of Queen Caroline, and before long he had ac- 
quired a complete ascendency over her. In 1771 he 
became practically omnipotent in Denmark, through being 
created the head of the Council. But his enjoyment of 
power did not last for long. With his success, Struen- 
see's pride and insolence increased, until he had 
antagonised all his supporters; also, he was openly irre- 
ligious and made no pretence of concealing his contempt 
for the national ways and prejudices. Moreover, it was 
whispered, he was enriching himself at the expense of 
the heavily taxed people under his rule. 

At length, in January of the next year, 1772, the Queen 
Dowager's opportunity for ruining Queen Caroline pre- 
sented itself. It chanced that Rantzau-Ascheberg, among 
others, had sickened of Struensee's arrogance ; and to him 
the Dowager joined herself and her son Frederick, — 
styled by his parasites " Le Prince Heritier," — in spite 
of the fact that the King had a son by Queen Caroline. 
Brandt's, I fancy, was the master mind which supplied 
the Dowager with her truly diabolical plan of campaign. 
154 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

Together with some others, the two worthies forced their 
way into the King's bedroom, late in the night of Jan- 
uary 1 6th, and persuaded him to sign a warrant for his 
wife's arrest and that of Struensee on an infamous charge 
of wrongful intimacy between them. Brandt was also 
included in the warrant which was carried out at once. 

There had been a great Court Ball, that night and poor 
little Caroline had been dancing there with the Dowager's 
son, Prince Frederick, who was soon to help in bringing 
about her downfall. One can imagine her consternation 
then, on being awakened at three o'clock of a midwin- 
ter's morning by a lieutenant of Guards with a file of 
soldiers at his back, and being commanded to rise 
and dress herself instantly in preparation for a journey. 
She had no choice but to obey. Having thrown on what 
clothes first came to hand. Queen Caroline was taken 
down to where a closed coach was awaiting her in a court- 
yard, and driven off to the Castle of Cronborg, near 
Elsinore. Although she entreated for permission to say 
" Good-bye " to her children (the elder, a boy, was only 
three years old, and the younger, his sister, being still a 
baby in long clothes) it was refused. She never set eyes 
on either of them again. Had it not been for her brother, 
our own good old George III, there is no saying to what 
kind of a fate she might not have been subjected. 
Thanks, however, to his intervention, his sister's life was 
spared and she was handed over to his care. She was 
taken in a British warship to Hanover where she spent 
the rest of her days — three lonely years — at Zell, de- 
voting herself to works of charity. Needless to say, 
^55 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

she was completely innocent of the charges made against 
her. 

In the meantime, Struensee and Brandt had been 
tried for high treason; it having been found impossible 
by other means to establish their guilt and that of the 
Queen, Struensee was put to the torture with the result 
of extorting from him a so-called " confession " in which 
he had the weakness to implicate Caroline Mathilda. 
This, however, did not save him from the savagery of his 
enemies, and he and Brandt were put to death on April 
28, 1772, under circumstances of hideous barbarity. 

But to return to more cheerful subjects. A compatriot 
of General de Raasloff's whom I first met about that 
time was the Danish Minister in Rome, M. de Heger- 
mann-Lindencrone, who had married Mrs. Moulton, 
the widow of Charles Moulton of Paris, formerly 
Miss Greenough of Cambridge, Massachusetts. I 
think the Hegermann-Lindencrones must have been 
quite one of the handsomest couples in Europe — 
certainly of my acquaintance. They were both such 
perfect types of different kinds of beauty — he of the 
real Viking stock, tall and splendidly built with real sea- 
blue eyes; and she of that magnolia-like loveliness, the es- 
pecial inheritance of not a few of the women of her coun- 
try. Not only were she and her husband good to look 
upon, but the most delightful of good company as well. 
As all the world knows, Mrs. Moulton, as she had been, 
formerly, was the fortunate possessor of a truly divine 
voice, one capable of both bringing tears into the eyes 
of a demon and of filling the saddest of hearts with a 
I^6 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

flood of radiance. Her father-in-law, General Heger- 
mann-Lindencrone, was a life-long friend of Moltke, 
who, with his elder brother, Fritz, as boys at the Land- 
kadetten Akademie of Copenhagen, had been wont to 
spend their Sundays with the Hegermann-Lindencrone 
youngsters at their father's estate near the city. 

Moltke always spoke with great gratitude of those 
happy hours, the only exception to the dreariness of his 
existence at that period. For the two Moltkes had been 
placed by their father " en pension " in the house of an 
elderly Danish soldier, a certain General von Lorenz, 
an old bachelor with ideas of his own as to the upbring- 
ing of small boys. Indeed, he appears to have ruled his 
charges with an iron hand; and yet there was a certain 
rough and ready equity in his methods. An instance of 
this occurred when his only pet, a tame goat, was acci- 
dentally injured by one of the brothers so that it had to 
be destroyed. The General, thereupon, pronounced 
sentence on the delinquents — economy going hand in 
hand with stern justice. The goat was duly consigned 
to the kitchen; and, so long as a particle of it remained, 
the boys got nothing else to eat. It must have lasted them 
some weeks — to their own disgust and their gaoler's 
complete satisfaction! 

I trust it will not be taken amiss by my readers if I in- 
vite them to accompany me a little way along the road of 
Moltke's youth? — Personally, I confess to an absorb- 
ing interest in all that concerns the young days of the 
Hegermann-Lindencrones' illustrious friend. 

Prior to their stay in Copenhagen — where they were 
157 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

being prepared under Colonel Glode du Plat at the 
" Akademie " for entrance into the Danish army — the 
future victor of Sedan and his brother had received the 
elements of their education at the hands of a clergyman, 
Pastor Knickbein, at Hohenfeld in Holstein. This same 
clergyman, it was, by the way, who afterwards officiated 
at the marriage of Helmuth von Moltke (the field- 
marshal, then a major) to Mary Burt, an English girl, 
on April 20, 1842. While at Hohenfeld, the lad used to 
employ his spare time in the construction of a miniature 
fortress, for which his father presented him with a brace 
of toy-cannon. Little did the schoolmates, playing to- 
gether of a Sunday in General Hegermann-Lindencronc's 
garden, a hundred years ago now, foresee the day when 
two of their number would be engaged in actual warfare 
on opposite sides — in 1864, when, after more than half 
a century had rolled away, Helmuth von Moltke con- 
ducted the war to a successful issue for the Prussians 
against the Danes in whose army General C. D. Heger- 
mann-Lindencrone held a command operating in Jutland. 
It was in the course of that same war, moreover, that an 
early friend of them both, General du Plat, was destined 
to meet his death on the Danish side in the fight for pos- 
session of the wind-mill at Dijppel on April i8th. Du 
Plat was the son of the former head of the Land-kadetten 
Akademie, Moltke's first military instructor. 

In 1 8 13 the two young Moltkes were fetched home on 

a holiday to Augustenburg in Holstein by their father, 

now the Commandant of Kiel and soon to be promoted to 

the rank of lieutenant-colonel for his services against 

158 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

the future sovereign of his son, Frederick. William 
III of Prussia. The case of this same Colonel Baron 
Moltke is too typical of the European situation of Napo- 
leon's day to be passed over without a few words of com- 
ment. Born at Samov in Mecklenburg, Baron Moltke 
entered the Prussian army at the age of thirteen in 178 1 
as " an ensign " in the Mollendorff regiment. From that 
service he retired on his approaching marriage with Fraii- 
lein Henrietta Paschen whose father had insisted upon 
Moltke's return to civil life as a condition of their 
union. 

After a few years, in 1805, the young husband became 
a Danish subject through his purchase of the estate of 
Augustenhof in Holstein. And now a series of misfor- 
tunes combined to change his way of life. Whilst he was 
engaged in building a house for his family at Augustenhof, 
the town of Liibeck (where his wife was awaiting with her 
children the completion of the new home) became the 
scene of desperate fighting between the French, and the 
Prussians of Bliicher's and Torek's commands. Eventu- 
ally Liibeck was taken by storm and plundered by the 
French during three days and nights. As a result, the 
Moltkes lost almost all their personal belongings. But, 
worse was to follow. At Augustenhof a great part of the 
stock died of disease, and the house itself was completely 
destroyed by fire, that same year. Thereupon, Baron 
Moltke determined to try his luck once more at soldiering, 
— since farming was out of the question without a 
larger capital than his misfortunes had left him. The 
country happened to be at war again with England, 
159 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

so that he had no difficulty In getting himself appointed 
to a command. It was while serving thus In the capacity 
of a Danish officer that he took part in the suppression of 
Schill's heroic but Ill-fated attempt to raise Prussia 
against the French invaders in 1809. A strangely disagree- 
able business, this same hunting of Schill by the Danish- 
Dutch auxiliaries of Napoleon. Which of us has not 
been haunted by the picture of the post-house eating-room 
In that rainy twilight at Warnemiinde? — the German 
youth upon his " Wanderjahr" travels, and the military 
stranger who sits at table with him in the dusk — the 
stranger's affability as he tells of how Schill has, " Yes, 
really been caught and killed." 

"See," — and he shows him a ring — "this was his. 
And — " but he says no more, seeing that the other's 
eyes are wandering to a certain modest parcel on the 
floor, half hidden by the stranger's cloak. Not until later, 
long after the two have parted on their separate ways, 
does our youth learn how Schill's head had been severed 
from the body by a surgeon and thus dispatched to the 
Library of the University of Leyden! 

The future field-marshal's mother, Frau von Moltke, 
must have been a woman of no ordinary kind. Certain 
it Is that to her own radiantly persevering character more 
than to any outside cause was due what share of happi- 
ness she enjoyed after the first few years of married life. 
Her children were devoted to their mother and she to 
them; but between the husband and wife a gradual pas- 
sive estrangement seems to have ensued upon Baron 
Moltke's entry Into the Danish service. Their indlvlduali- 
160 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

ties were, if anything, too self-reliant, too positive and 
energetic to need sympathy of one another. In both the 
idea of duty was paramount; neither ever flinched from 
any call that it could make upon them. Had either been 
weaker they might both have been happier in the human 
sense. As it was, they lavished their energies upon helping 
the feebler ones about them to fight the battle of life 
without a thought to self — with the inevitable conse- 
quence that the truth of the Italian proverb was only too 
amply vindicated in the lives of both — " He who makes 
himself honey gets himself eaten." 

The year 1813 was rparked for the Moltke family 
by various events. In the early spring came news of 
the death of an uncle — Major Helmuth von Moltke, 
brother of the Baron — from wounds and starvation in 
the retreat through Russia, whither he had gone with the 
Mecklenburg contingent of Napoleon's army, the pre- 
ceding summer. Soon after bringing the Major's name- 
sake, young Helmuth, and his brother Fritz home from 
Copenhagen, their father was called away, once more, 
to take command of the Danish advance-guard attached 
to the French Marshal, Davoust's, force operating against 
the Prussians and Russians near Ratzeburg; later on, 
too, he signalised himself by his devotion in the defence of 
Rendsburg. Thence he returned to Kiel, Helmuth and 
Fritz in the meanwhile having gone back to school at 
Copenhagen. Besides these two, there were now four 
other boys and two girls in the family, ranging from 
Wilhelm, the eldest, a cadet in the Norwegian military 
school at Christiania, down to Victor, the baby, born in 
161 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

1 812, the intermediate places being filled by Adolf, 
Ludwig, Magdelene — or " Helene " — and Augusta, 
later the step-mother of Helmuth's English wife, Mary 
Burt. 

Throughout the momentous period of 18 13 and 1 8 14, 
— the War of Liberation in Germany, and the downfall 
of Napoleon, — the sympathies of the Moltkes must 
have been almost equally divided between the conquerors 
and the conquered; for, as was the case with so many 
families at that time in northern Europe, they were far 
from being united in the matter of politics. Of the 
Baron's brothers one, as has been seen, had lately fallen 
on the French side, whilst another, Wilhelm, was fight- 
ing on that of Prussia. But this diversity of political 
employment has always been the lot of their kind in 
Germany, with its many States, large and small. The 
Baron's own father, for instance, had begun his career 
as a page at the court of Wurtemberg, which he left as 
the result of a quarrel with his superiors. Thence he 
betook himself to Vienna, where he entered the army of 
the Empress Maria Theresa under the auspices of a 
relative, the Austrian Field-Marshal von Moltke, ris- 
ing with rapidity to the rank of captain in his twenty- 
first year. Soon after, upon succeeding to the estate of 
Samov in 175 1, he retired from the Austrian service 
and returned to the allegiance of his birth as a subject 
of the King of Prussia. 

But even the universal warfare about them was power- 
less to make much difference to Helmuth and his brother 
under the rule of Colonel Glode du Plat at Copenhagen. 
162 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

News then travelled slowly and under difficulties; the 
extent, for instance, of the disaster of Trafalgar was 
not even known in France itself until after Napoleon's 
abdication in 1814. And, when Waterloo had decided 
his destiny for ever, the military professors all over 
Europe turned their attention, with the redoubled energy 
of relief, to instilling the lessons of the past prodigious 
quarter-century of experience into the minds of their pu- 
pils. A fury of scholastic militarism succeeded to the 
ruder actualities of the upheaval of 1790-1 815; a veri- 
table frenzy of theory in which the opposing schools of 
Jomini and Clausewitz were to find birth. 

For Helmuth von Moltke this period of " cram- 
ming " (during a part of which he did duty at 
Court as a member of the Corps of Pages) resulted 
in his passing at the head of the list of candidates 
from the " Akademie " into the army in 18 18. Among 
his weaker subjects, in the exammation, was, as I have 
heard, that of drawing. And yet, strange to say, it was 
to his skill in drawing that he was afterwards most 
particularly indebted for his subsequent chances of dis- 
tinction. It was said that, at a reception at the German 
Court, a lady — a relation, I think, of the unfortunate 
Harry Arnim who was Prussian Ambassador in Rome 
in the days of my youth, and who afterwards ended his 
career abruptly by falling out with Prince Bismarck — 
was once talking to Moltke, when they were joined by 
the old Emperor William. Moltke at once withdrew, 
and the Emperor said, ** I will tell you something new 
about Moltke. Do you know that it was I who first 

163 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

* discovered ' him? " Thereupon he told her how, many- 
years before, some drawings of fortifications and so forth 
made by various officers had come under his own 
eyes, when Prince of Prussia; he had been aston- 
ished and delighted by one in particular, the work of a 
certain Moltke, of whom no one seemed to know any- 
thing. " Pray keep an eye on this man," the Prince 
had said to those about him, " he will surely make himself 
heard of — his work is simply magnificent!" So that 
it really was due to the Emperor that Moltke had there- 
after been singled out for special employment from among 
his comrades. 

Having received his commission as second lieutenant, 
Moltke left Copenhagen to join his battalion of the 
Oldenburg infantry regiment at Rendsburg, the scene of 
his father's exploits in 1813. Here he remained a couple 
of years, being transferred to the " Jager " or " light " 
company of the regiment in 1820, a notable distinction 
and one much prized by the regimental juniors. And 
then, in 1821, occurred the most momentous event, per- 
haps, of his whole career — a period of short leave which 
he spent on a trip, with his father, to Berlin. 

Here for the first time in his life, he set eyes upon the 
Prussian army — and instantly his young enthusiasm was 
kindled by the sight. From that moment he could know 
no happiness until he felt himself entitled to a personal 
share in that army's traditions as the wearer of a Prussian 
uniform. 

After considerable heart-searching he confided his am- 
bition to his father, who offered no obstacle to the pro- 
164 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

ject, but rather sympathised with his son's eagerness 
for a wider scope for his abilities than that afforded by 
the Danish service. Accordingly, young Moltke applied 
to the Prussian authorities for permission to offer himself 
as a candidate at the forthcoming examinations for offi- 
cers in Berlin, and was accepted, subject to his being able 
to produce a certificate of good conduct from his former 
Danish superiors. This he did, and was admitted to the 
examination, which he passed — after only a fortnight's 
preparation. Having satisfied the examiners, — among 
them no less famous a person than the great Gneisenau, 
— he found himself promptly appointed to the Eighth 
infantry regiment stationed at Frankfort on the Oder, 
as the junior of all its twenty-nine subalterns — then no 
very promising outlook for any but such as he ! His time 
at Frankfort was busily employed in fitting himself for ad- 
mission to the " Kriegsschule," the school of superior 
studies for officers at Berlin. In this he succeeded and 
was transferred to the capital in 1823. And now began 
the long struggle to raise himself by sheer merit above 
the crowd of his wealthier but less ambitious comrades. 
No possible economy was left unpractised by him to this 
end, no chance neglected. What tiny sums he could con- 
trive to save from his unavoidable living expenses were 
invested in paying for tuition In foreign languages — 
English and Russian — in both of which he made himself 
an expert. But, even for a Moltke, advancement was 
slow in those days; and eleven years were to pass before 
he obtained the rank of full lieutenant In his thirty-fourth 
year. By then, however, he was already better equipped 
165 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

for generalship than many men of twice his age. Almost 
from the very first he was absolutely dependent upon his 
own brains for his success in the struggle with poverty. 
Thus he became the author of a novel, amongst other 
productions, written during a period of profound de- 
pression and heart trouble that threatened either to bring 
him to the grave or, at least, to compel the abandonment 
of his beloved profession; indeed, he scarcely expected 
to be able to continue as a soldier and was preparing to 
make a living, instead, by his pen. There was always in 
Moltke — until past middle life when all doubtings had 
left him — an extraordinary readiness, a kind of fatal- 
istic eagerness, almost, to meet troubles half way and to 
anticipate the worst. So late as 1848 (when Prussia 
was in the grasp of mob-law to such an extent that a 
parliamentary resolution was passed to the effect that all 
young officers not in sympathy with democratic princi- 
ples should be ordered to make It a point of honour to 
resign their commissions) Moltke was seriously debating 
the advisability of beginning life anew together with his 
young wife, as an emigrant to Australia ! Among other 
products of his pen, by the way, during those early days 
in Berlin, was a translation of Gibbon's " Decline and 
Fall of the Roman Empire," begun under the necessity 
of finding money with which to buy a second charger, 
but never completed. 

His relations with Prince William of Prussia, after- 
wards the Emperor, were of the closest kind, from the 
day of their first meeting to the last sad one when Moltke 
stood beside the death-bed of the lovable old man in 
166 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

1888. The Emperor always referred everything of a 
mlhtary nature to him during the two great wars of 1866 
and 1870. " I can do nothing without his sanction," he 
once said in answer to a request for additional troops 
by some corps-commander during the siege of Paris. 
" He will take even my bodyguard from me for his 
schemes if he thinks fit." But that was always the Em- 
peror's way; he made a point of doing things thoroughly, 
and his given word was " as the laws of the Medes and 
Persians." An amusing instance occurred one day when 
his favourite adjutant, the late Count Seckendorff, pre- 
sented to him an officer upon the latter's promotion to 
major. " Gratulire, Herr Major" (my congratula- 
tions to you, Major), said the Emperor; whereupon the 
officer glanced at him an instant with an expression of 
astonishment and delight, bowed and withdrew, all 
smiles. Presently, to his dismay. Count Seckendorff dis- 
covered that the officer in question was one of two brothers 
and that it was the other one, the elder, who had just 
received his majority, the younger, as a matter of fact, 
being only a captain. On explaining his mistake to the 
Emperor, the latter replied, " Well, there 's nothing to 
be done. 'Major,' I said, — and Major he must re- 
main." Upon Seckendorff coming to him, however, a 
few days later, with the request that he might be allowed 
to present the real Major, the Sovereign shook his head. 
" Nannu, mein Bester," he answered, laughingly, " zum 
zweiten Mai fall' ich nicht darin! " (No, no, my dear 
fellow, you don't catch me making the same mistake a 
second time!) 

167 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

And It really took some persuasion to Induce him to 
comply with the request and to consent to congratulate 
the newly promoted officer ! 

Both Kaiser Wilhelm and his son, Crown Prince 
Frederick, were the simplest of mortals in their Inter- 
course with others. There was a delightful story In re- 
gard to this which my brother-in-law Oscar von Rabe used 
to tell. As he was equerry to the Crown Princess at the 
time, he must bear the responsibility for Its authenticity. 
It happened that the Crown Prince had taken Into his 
service a new man-servant, and that the overdone, cere- 
monial obsequiousness of the latter began to jar upon 
his master. Matters came to such a point of discomfort, 
at last, that the servant received an intimation to the 
effect that the Crown Prince would prefer to be treated 
with more simplicity. The next day, when the Crown 
Prince was seated writing at his table, he suddenly felt 
himself tapped on the shoulder and turned quickly — 
thinking it was his wife — to behold the new servant 
standing there with a smile of reassurance. Before the 
astounded Heir to the Throne could find his words, 
the man announced with a jerk of his thumb behind 
him: 

" Pappchen " (literally, little Papa), "is come to see 
you." 

''Pdppchenfff BETRUNKEN?!!!" meaning to 
say, "Are you drunk?" — only the other took it, 
apparently, to have reference to the venerable Emperor. 
Hence the delicious answer, as he scratched his head In 
perplexity: — 

i68 



NORTH OF THE ALPS 

"Betrunken? Na' — habe nix bemerkt!" ("Drunk? 
Well — no, I didn't notice an)'thing!") 

But speaking of the Emperor William's rigid fulfil- 
ment of his every promise, there used, long ago, to be 
a refreshing — if uncharitable — joke told in respect to 
his elder brother, King Frederick William IV, whose 
vacillation in things political was, if I may say so, 
notorious. 

I must first explain that in former days in Prussia 
there existed an imaginary character — a kind of shad- 
owy " Pasquino " known as Nanti Strumpf, into whose 
mouth public opinion was wont to put — its own 
conclusions. 

After the promise of a Constitution had been forced 
from the King, a comic journal published a supposedly 
overheard colloquy between Nanti Strumpf and a 
countryman in the crowd that had gathered to hear the 
monarch endorse the promise with an oath, of which 
the closing words were these: " Und dass ich mein Wort 
erhalten werde, gelobig ich schwore." (And that I will 
keep my word I solemnly swear.) 

"What did he say?" asks the peasant of his 
neighbour. 

" Well," replies Nanti Strumpf, " it sounded to me 
like this : * Und dass ich mein Wort erhalten werde glaub' 
i' schwerli!'" (And that I shall keep my word I 
scarcely believe.) 



169 



VIII 

SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN THE PENISOLA 

** Zoroaster" at Pompeii — My Brother's Wife and Her Family — The 
Duke of Wellington's Maxim — A Young Turk — Filangieri the Fire- 
eater — King Ferdinand's Dismissal of the Swiss Guards — The Sur- 
render of Palermo — Garibaldi's " Double " — A Veteran's Experiences 
— Roast Goose for Four — A Franciscan in England — The Amiable 
Crispi — The Disaster of Massouah — Tragedy in the Flesh — Hill-road 
Pictures — A Contrast in Funerals. 

ONE book was completed and another begun in 
Marion's seabird study under the roclcs in the sum- 
mer of 1883. The first was "To Leeward" and there 
is so much of Sorrento in it, together with our personal 
experiences of various kinds, that I must not enlarge 
too much on these subjects — they have been touched 
by that master hand. Together we assisted at the launch- 
ing of the battle-ship at Castellammare which he there 
describes — together we had smiled at the soaring 
philosophislngs of Daisy's young girl friends, summed up 
by Leonora's amazing aphorism in " To Leeward," — 
*' everything is nothing and Time is — colour!" The 
book was rather adversely criticised when it came out; 
Macmillan had refused to publish it because the story of 
poor Leonora's mistakes was not consonant with the rather 
prudish standards of the firm at that time, and, though 
the public read it avidly, it pretended to resent Marion's 
170 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

having selected a subject which was not one for the 
young person — the "June Filly" as he himself always 
called her. Unfortunately, ever since the world was made, 
certain kinds of women have married without much 
reflection and have allowed themselves to fall in love 
with the wrong men afterwards. The only wonder is 
that It does not happen more frequently; but certainly my 
brother's story gave no encouragement to such frailty, 
and he was consoled for the reviewers' growls by more 
than one private letter from women readers, thanking 
him for the warnings conveyed, which had caused them 
to draw back in time from similar perils. He was very 
angry with Macmlllan's, however, for refusing the book, 
and when the next, which happened to be " Saraclnesca," 
was completed, he sent it to Blackwood, and I remember 
the tone of regret with which Frederick Macmlllan spoke 
of It to me long years afterwards. I was asking him why 
his house had not produced that book — for my brother 
and I were far apart when it came out and he had not 
told me about it. " We never even saw it! He sent it 
straight to Blackwood because we had refused ' To Lee- 
ward,' and though we have tried hard to buy it back, 
Blackwoods will not give it up. They say It is a steady 
source of income ! How the public taste has changed in 
ten years ! Can you imagine our refusing ' To Leeward ' 
now? " 

But " Saraclnesca " was not the book which Marlon 
thought out In 1883. That was " Zoroaster," which ap- 
peared later, and which, to my mind, was one of the most 
finished things he ever wrote. It was less popular with 
171 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the British Public than some of his others, but the dear 
old B. P. Is not especially appreciative of the highly artis- 
tic In literature or anything else. " Zoroaster " is daz- 
zling In colour and strength, so full of atmosphere and 
so accurate In historical details that it gives a picture 
of the time which can never be forgotten by those who 
have read It. It brought Marlon the gold medal of the 
French Academy, a tribute which gave him the purest 
pleasure and which he treasured devoutly all his life. 

One of my happiest days with Marion was passed 
at Pompeii, when he was very full of "Zoroaster." 
Uncle Sam and Daisy made up the party, and we had left 
Sant' Agnello early enough in the morning to find Its 
freshness all along our road, that lovely road to Cas- 
tellammare over which I have driven so many times since, 
by night and by day, in storm and in sunshine, with all 
my best beloveds in turn, without ever finding It less at- 
tractive. After leaving Castellammare the sun had pun- 
ished us a little In the flat, dusty ways to Pompeii, but 
the day was still young when we came to a halt in the 
amphitheatre and sat down to rest In the cool blue 
shadows cast by some marble columns over an ancient 
seat. 

The day was all blue and white, of the thousand 
clear and tender shades that the vertical midday sun of 
the south draws from marble and sky and sea; blue-white 
quivering haze overhead, gold-white, snow-white, cold 
moon-white, mist-grey-whIte In aisles of pillars and por- 
ticoes of temples. And underfoot was the wheat-coloured, 
fine dust that sun and sea winds have made of the fine 
172 




From a photograph by Mfssrs. Tli- 



F. MARION CRAWFORD 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

Roman ladies and their lords and cavaliers and their 
troops of clever slaves; of the dancers and singers; of 
the busy shop-keepers and the smart garrison and the 
brown fisherf oik — the thousands upon whom doom fell 
in Pompeii nearly two thousand years ago. All is recon- 
ciled and peaceful now, and as we were looking round us, 
thinking of them all, Marion began to read to us the 
" Chant of the Priests " which he had just written for 
the opening chapter of " Zoroaster." His reading was 
always a treat. His voice was so full and pure, his bal- 
ancing of phrase so sonorous and restrained; but that day 
some strong, compelling chord had been touched and 
after the first few words we, his hearers, were in Italy 
no longer, but in the heart of the older world, the gor- 
geous, gold-clothed, sun-worshipping, Near-East. 

As I have related in a former volume, Marion had 
passed two years in India — where, but for a whim of 
chance,^ he might have remained for many years more — 
but the Near-East he knew in spirit only in that summer 
of 1883 when he began to write "Zoroaster." It was 
a little later that he made his first visit to Constantino- 
ple, drawn thither by a magnet which later became the 
centre of his life, the beautiful face and irresistible per- 
sonality of Elizabeth Christophers Berdan, whom he had 
known a couple of years earlier in Boston. Her father. 
General Berdan, a brilliantly talented officer of the Civil 
War, was just then fitting out the Sultan's troops with the 

* My brother, in a fit of desperation at his reverses of fortune, had ac- 
tually written to ask if he might enlist in the — th Dragoon Guards. He kept 
back the letter for one night and the next morning received one offering 
him the editorship of the Allahabad Pioneer, which he thankfully accepted. 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

" Berdan rifle," and, incidentally, adding very much to 
the charm of society in Constantinople by his own 
presence and that of his wife and daughter. 

Mrs. Berdan was a complete cosmopolitan, so fresh and 
young and pretty that when I met her several years later, I 
could not make out which was fibbing, she, or the evidence 
of my own senses, when she told me that as a young 
girl, living in London with her uncle, who was there as the 
American Minister, she had met the Duke of Welling- 
ton at a Court Ball ! The great man had taken particular 
notice of the pretty debutante in her white tulle dress 
and wreath of forget-me-nots. He had picked out a 
little gift for her, a " bonbonniere," with many decora- 
tions, and, on presenting it to her, said confidentially, " My 
dear young lady, they say, ' Be good and you will be 
happy! ' I say to you, be happy and you will be good! " 
Wise, wise old Duke ! 

After her marriage Mrs. Berdan had spent some years 
in Berlin, where her high spirits and unfailing charm 
caused her to be called " L'Etoile du Nord." There her 
eldest daughter was married to a French diplomatist. 
Count d'Aunay, while my future sister-in-law was still 
a little girl in the schoolroom, much in request at the 
Palace as a playmate for the young Princesses. I re- 
member she showed me a little ring that one of them had 
given her, saying apologetically, " I would like to give 
you something finer, Bessie — but — Granny Vic is so 
stingy!^'' A great grief fell on the family in the death 
of the only boy, of typhoid fever. In all the promise of 
his early youth. His mother told me that he was quite 
174 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

conscious of his approaching end and seemed to fear it 
not at all, but that he felt bitterly the having to go before 
he had tasted life. " Je meurs — et je n'ai pas aime 1 " 
were almost the last words that fell from his lips. 

My brother, though most cordially received by the 
family on his first visit to Constantinople, was too diffident 
of his own merits to put his fate to the touch that time, 
and made another journey for the purpose in the late 
summer of 1884, when his suit prospered and was fol- 
lowed by his marriage to Miss Berdan on the 15th of 
October of that year. Constantinople supplied him with 
a new theatre for romance, and " Paul Patoff " was the 
literary outcome of those visits — a book which a Turk- 
ish friend of ours, Reshid Bey, abused to me with out- 
bursts of wrath. Never, to the great never, he declared, 
could such an outrage occur as the kidnapping of a for- 
eigner in Constantinople ! The city was as civilised, as 
well policed, as London or Berlin, and the whole thing was 
a cruel calumny! His patriotism was edifying, for his 
family had suffered heavily in pocket through the rapa- 
cious avarice of the Government that he represented — 
and so hotly defended; but many a strange disappearance 
and desperate adventure of the too rash foreigner 
In Constantinople has come to one's knowledge — too 
clearly proved to admit of refutation. Reshid Bey had 
been educated in England himself and had, among other 
British acquirements, taken on the one of feeling bound 
to believe that a man's own country, " in spite of all 
temptations " of facts to the contrary, must be upheld 
as the most perfect in the world. 
175 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

As a boy he had encountered one insuperable difficulty 
in his scholastic career in England. Having been sent 
to Eton, he very soon fell under the displeasure of his 
instructors and was sent up to the Head Master to be 
birched. When he stood before that all-powerful per- 
sonage and realised what was in store for him, his fury 
was so uncontrollable that even Authority hesitated a 
moment before inflicting the punishment. Young Reshid 
was told to kneel upon the time-honoured block — and he 
swore by all his gods that he would kill with his hands 
the man who should dare to strike him — a Turkish 
gentleman! Authority wisely decided that this young 
autocrat could not safely be coerced and would never 
make a typical English schoolboy, so Master Reshid and 
his possessions were handed over to a private tutor — 
who must have been a very good fellow and also a good 
teacher, for nothing seemed wanting in the English edu- 
cation of the young diplomatist when we knew him, and 
he always spoke with affectionate warmth of the happy 
years he had spent in England. He is connected with 
Sorrento a good deal in my mind because I first met him 
at Villa Crawford, but it was more than ten years after 
my summer there with Uncle Sam, the second only that 
I had then passed in the place which, as time went on, 
became as much a home as Rome, my birthplace. 

My first visit to the Penisola happened in 1865, when 
I was only fourteen, fresh from the Isle of Wight where 
I had been at school for three years, and the " Regno " 
was still unsettled and not altogether safe. But a short 
time had elapsed since Garibaldi and his followers had 
176 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

evicted the Bourbons from their throne and the country 
was yet full of the bitterness aroused by the repressive 
measures of the Piedmontese Government after that 
event. The few Neapolitans with whom we came in 
social contact were still divided in opinion as to the merits 
of the old and new regimes, but for the most part they 
held in their hearts to the rule of King Ferdinand rather 
than to that of Victor Emmanuel. Among them perhaps 
the strongest personality was that of the ex-governor of 
Sicily, Prince Filangieri, who had been made Duke of 
Taormina for his suppression of the revolt in that city 
in 1849. H^ "^^^ '^ his eighty-third year when I first 
went to Sorrento in 1865. To few men has it been given 
to take part in so many changes in history as to Garlo 
Filangieri ; his adventures rivalled — and far surpassed 
— those of Lever's heroes, Tom Burke and his 
kind. The proverb runs, " Like father, like son," but 
it was not so in his case. The strongest contrast was 
struck there, for the older Filangieri called himself a 
social reformer, and his mind had been completely taken 
possession of by the sentimental Liberalism so rampant in 
western Europe towards the close of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. He was a dreamer, whose rather mawkish tendencies 
found no place in the aggressively active character of 
his son. 

The latter was born at Cava Delle Sirene in 1783, and 
In his early youth his imagination was fired by the ex- 
ploits of the great General Bonaparte in his victories 
over the Austrlans In the north of Italy. Nothing less 
than service under him could satisfy the ambition of 
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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

young Filangierl, and when, in 1799, the French, under 
Championnet, took possession of Naples, he seized the 
opportunity of making Championnet's acquaintance and 
of obtaining his assistance in the realisation of these 
desires. 

Championnet was much impressed by the ardour of 
the boy, and willingly sent him to Paris with a letter of 
introduction to the First Consul, who also received him 
favourably. Thanks to this powerful patron, Filangieri 
obtained entrance to the French Training School for young 
officers and continued his studies there until he received 
his commission, in 1801. 

Four years later the young man's first chance of show- 
ing what stuff he was made of presented itself during 
the campaign of 1805, and he was made a captain on the 
field of Austerlitz in reward for gallantry. Soon after- 
wards, however, he returned to his own country and 
took service under Joseph Bonaparte whom, in 1808, he 
accompanied into Spain. In the long war that followed, 
Carlo Filangieri distinguished himself rather by his 
courage than by military ability, and since his various 
chiefs, Murat, Massena, Marmont, and the rest of the 
French commanders in the Peninsula were only too prone 
to condone such a fault, all that was best in Filangieri, 
as a soldier, was subordinated to the one fixed idea of 
maintaining his reputation for personal fearlessness. 
The result was disastrous to his natural abilities. In- 
stead of applying himself to learning his business as a 
soldier, Filangieri became Involved in a series of duels, 
in one of which he killed General Franceschi — a breach 
178 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

of discipline for which he escaped very lightly, all things 
considered. 

The story of Murat's eviction from the throne of 
Naples — the flight, the return, the desperate night of 
rowing down the coast, the fall of doom in his capture 
at Pizzo in Calabria, the gallant dandy's manner of 
meeting his end — it all makes a story which may be a 
little theatrical but which touches some strong chord of 
sympathy in one's heart. But the tragic fate of his hero 
seems to have aroused but little indignation in Filangieri. 
He very soon decided to return to his natural allegiance, 
and entered the service of King Ferdinand, whom he 
supported faithfully for a time. Then something hap- 
pened to estrange him from his Sovereign. Perhaps 
Filangieri caught a glimpse of King Ferdinand's favour- 
ite curio, the head of Joachim Murat, kept in a glass box 
in the royal bedroom, and was betrayed into some excla- 
mation of protest; at any rate he was out of employment 
until the accession of Ferdinand II in 1825. 

By the new King he was promoted to be Inspector- 
general of the Artillery and Engineers, and this post he 
retained for many years. In 1848 he was sent to quell 
the insurrection in Sicily, a task which he carried out — 
if not wisely, only too well. His zeal resulted in his 
being created Duke of Taormina, and in King Ferdi- 
nand the Second's obtaining the memorable nickname of 
" Bomba " in perpetuation of the memory of Filangieri's 
ferocious bombardment of Messina. The victorious 
general was also made Governor-General of Sicily in 
reward for his service — a distinction which has a tang 
179 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

of Ferdinand's sardonic humour in it. Sicily was not 
likely to prove a bed of roses to any one at that time, 
least of all to the fiery zealot who had subdued it. 

The strangest part of Filangieri's career seems to centre 
round his action in persuading his Sovereign, in 1859, to 
disband the Swiss Guards, who were so famous for their 
loyalty and devotion to the Throne. In this he was bit- 
terly opposed by the rest of the Neapolitan generals, with 
one exception, that of Lanza, whose subsequent exploits 
throw the gravest doubts on his motives. The Swiss 
had mutinied, it is true, but not in any disloyal spirit. 
Certainly Filangieri's action in the matter appears to have 
been prompted more by national jealousy than by any 
other motives. The Swiss were the — deservedly — 
favourite troops of the young queen (a Bavarian Princess 
and the sister of the Empress of Austria) and it seems 
likely that both Filangieri and Lanza resented the fact. 
At all events, the loss of the Swiss was to a great extent 
the cause of the loss of his throne to Francis II. Those 
four regiments of well trained, well officered Swiss 
Guards would have been more than a match for Gari- 
baldi and his brigands, a year later. 

As to Lanza, who in i860 was in command of Palermo, 
it is generally believed that he sold the place to Garibaldi 
for one million francs. It was well-provisioned, full of 
ammunition, and more than fully garrisoned when Lanza 
announced his intention of surrendering it. The troops 
protested, but the fate of two loyal officers, who attempted 
to interfere with the Commander's project and whom he 
condemned to be put to death at once with every circum- 
180 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

stance of obloquy, Intimidated the rest, and Garibaldi took 
possession without, if I remember rightly, firing a shot. 
Lanza's soldiers openly lamented the absence of the 
trusty Swiss comrades who would have enabled them to 
deal promptly with the Redshirt rabble and the revolu- 
tionaries of Palermo. 

There are many people who still believe, with some 
assumption of reason, that there were two Garibaldis — 
the real one, and a double who, for convenience sake, 
often impersonated his patron during the latter's life- 
time and was deftly substituted for him at his death. 
After the skirmish at Aspromonte, rumours, whispered 
but persistent, circulated in Italy to the effect that Gari- 
baldi had been killed in the affair by Pallavlcinrs troops, 
and that one Sganarelli (shades of Mollere!) had im- 
mediately been made to take his place. This man, 
Sganarelli, was a stevedore of Genoa and had often posed 
for photographs of Garibaldi on account of his surprising 
likeness to him. The story of the substitution of Sganar- 
elli for the dead man has lately been renewed and, one 
must admit, supported by the testimony of a well-known 
Frenchman, Count le Gonidec de Traissan, recently de- 
ceased. As far as political possibilities go, it Is quite 
conceivable that the Pledmontese Government should 
have done all In its power to hush up the fact — If such 
It were — that Garibaldi had been killed by Pledmontese 
soldiers, for fear of incurring the hatred of the many 
misguided men, his admirers. 

According to Count Gonidec the Garlbaldian leaders 
themselves consented to the Sganarelli fraud in order to 
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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

maintain the prestige of their gang towards the world at 
large, which, however, watched with surprise the extra- 
ordinary and (except on these grounds) inexplicable 
decadence of Garibaldi's military capacity after 1862. 
It was complete incapacity that was shown, both at 
Mentana and, in 1866, in Tyrol, as well as in the attempt 
of the Garibaldians to oppose the Prussian professional 
soldiers, Kettler and Werder, in 1871. 

How the French regarded their embarrassing ally in 
1 87 1 is matter of history. Only the other day an old 
Prussian soldier who was under Werder during the pur- 
suit of Bourbaki's corps, from the Lisaine before Belfort 
down to the Swiss frontier, told me of his and all his 
comrades' pleased surprise at being greeted, in every town 
and village, as welcome deliverers. For days, while 
Bourbaki's disorganised hordes and Garibaldi's followers 
had been passing that way, the inhabitants had been 
forced to hide their women and their possessions from 
those marauding refugees, and had for the most part 
themselves lain concealed behind the barricaded doors 
of their houses. But no sooner were the Prussian pur- 
suers in sight than everything changed in the twinkling 
of an eye. Every one came out of hiding and breathed 
freely once more; a brisk cash trade was done in wine 
and provisions; on every hand " Thank Heaven you have 
come at last! " was the fervent ejaculation of the elders. 
" We have been going in fear of our lives for days past, 
from those Garibaldian brigands! " 

Very severe was the Prussian discipline as to looting, 
in that command at any rate. " When we were before 
182 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

Metz," my veteran went on to relate, " I and three of 
my friends came very near being shot — for the sake of 
roast goose ! We were young, we had dreamed of 
Gansebraten for weeks ! A certain Pastor, close by in the 
country, had some beautiful fat geese whose cackling made 
much music in our ears and craving in our stomachs. 
Orders were precise that everything must be paid for. 
We had no money, and besides the Frau Pastorin loved 
those geese like children and would not have them sold. 
We four, we looked at one another — we understood. 
At dead of night we stole one goose. We took it far 
away and plucked it, counting the feathers, oh so care- 
fully, and in a deep hole we buried every one, every 
smallest one! We roasted our goose — we ate — ah, 
what happiness — it was like home — till we could eat 
no more, and then we buried the bones also, deep and 
carefully. We looked at our clothes all over many times 
— there were no feathers anywhere at all. Then we 
returned to camp and slept — with some fright, all the 
same. The next morning, up comes the Herr Pastor to 
report his goose stolen in the night by some of our com- 
pany. We are ordered up to stand in hollow square, 
every man with his knapsack open at his feet. The offi- 
cers and the Herr Pastor go round and look for goose- 
feathers. They pull out everything from the knapsacks, 
they turn out our pockets, they look in our hair, in 
the seams of our clothes — through those many sol- 
diers ! If one little small, tiny bit of feather had been 
found, that man would have been shot just then, all in 
a minute, — so! We felt pretty bad, we four, but we 
183 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

had been so careful that not one little speck of feather 
was upon us, and so we got off! But we waited for 
our next Gansebraten till we got safe back to the 
Fatherland! " 

I believe I was saying that if Count Gonldec's state- 
ments are to be relied on — and he made them most 
categorically — It was not Garibaldi but the versatile 
Sganarelll who was responsible for the various military 
mistakes which it has so puzzled Garibaldi's biographers 
to account for when dealing with the later part of his life. 
Gonidec says that " Garibaldi's sons knew of this (the 
substitution) and that was why they were sometimes so 
indifferent to their putative father." 

There may be nothing In Gonldec's theory, but at the 
same time it suggests a smile at the expense of so many 
enthusiastic admirers of Garibaldi, Including those in 
London. "A propos " of his — or his double's — visit 
there, it is at least refreshing to remember one illustrious 
exception to the general folly and vulgarity of the accla- 
mation accorded to the man — the exception being that 
of Queen Victoria herself, to whom the very mention of 
his name was detestable. I have been roundly abused 
for my opinions of Garibaldi freely expressed in the for- 
mer volumes of this work; it was a consolation to me to 
know that where I differed from the general public it was 
in the best of good company. The son of RIccIotto Gari- 
baldi has done much to atone for his grandsire's sins by 
entering the Priesthood (even as the daughter of M. 
Jaures has become a Carmelite nun!), and for that good 
young man's sake I would be glad to believe that the score 
184 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

was closed twenty years earlier than the published date of 
1882. 

Garibaldi's memory is not in benediction in the beloved 
" Penisola " whence, as my good Doctor Miihlfeld 
triumphantly chronicles, " he chased all the priests and 
Religious Orders." Most of the latter are flourishing 
there now as if they had never been disturbed, only the 
Jesuits, as far as I know, not having returned to claim 
their possessions, which are held, as in trust, by God- 
fearing families ready to relinquish them should the 
Society demand it — which, it is safe to say, it never 
will. 

Many of the banished clerics and monks took refuge 
In England, the great casual ward for the distressed, and 
two particular friends of ours among them, Monsignor 
Maresca and the Superior of the Franciscans, said that 
they could never forget the kindness with which they were 
received. The Capuchin Padre told me, with chuckles 
of laughter, of his attempt to address a congregation in 
English before taking leave of his hosts to return to 
Italy. " They had been so good to me," he said, " all 
those kind people, that I felt the least I could do was to 
thank them myself. I had not learnt much of their 
terribly difficult language, but I thought I knew enough 
for that. For a few minutes all went well, and then I 
was much shocked to see that they were all having trouble 
not to laugh. F'lglia mia, I had been trying to repeat 
those words of the Lord — ' I was hungry and thirsty 
and you ministered to me ' — and what do you think I 
had said? — my friend the Parish Priest told me after- 
185 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

wards — ' I was ugly and dirty ! ' And the worst of 
it was that it was quite true ! " Franciscan humility and 
the sense of humour exemplified! 

The good Superior was, during one of my last visits 
to Sorrento (in 1896), made the Bishop of Basilicata; 
great was the rejoicing in Sant' Agnello at the merited 
distinction bestowed upon him, equally clamorous the 
mourning for the loss of his presence among us; but 
the latter blessing was prolonged for two whole years, 
during which the diocese was bishopless — because the 
amiable Prime Minister, Crispi, refused to grant him 
his " Exequatur," without which no Bishop could take 
possession of his charge. The Government had reserved 
that power to itself, and it was joyfully exploited to annoy 
and embarrass the Church. In this case all the protests 
and appeals of the prelate himself and of the clergy and 
people of Basilicata received the same reply during two 
long years — Crispi " had mislaid the paper among 
others on his writing-table and would send it along when 
he found it ! " 

That Crispi escaped assassination in the end shows the 
marvellous toleration of the Italian people, I think. 
In the spring of 1895, the Italians, at some considerable 
trouble to themselves, contrived to stir up a quarrel with 
Menelik of Abyssinia. Menelik was averse to a war, 
himself, but he found it impossible, after awhile, to resist 
their Importunity. Signer Crispi, one cannot help think- 
ing, had reasons of his own for turning the eyes of his 
countrymen away from himself and his Government 
just then ; but that was as far as his wits took him. All 
186 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

through 1895, hostilities went on intermittently until in 
the spring of 1896 Menelik lost his temper and ad- 
ministered a thrashing to his unfortunate assailants that 
finished the campaign with one shock. The feeling 
towards the Government which pervaded the whole of 
Italy south of Rome needs no description here. Despite 
all the efforts of the " Liberators," the country generally 
has remained Christian and has retained some of its 
national characteristics; so it can be understood that, 
what with the swarms of petty officials, the continuous 
interference of the State with religion, the salt tax, the 
land taxes — and the whole resultant discontent, misery, 
and poverty, the ghastly massacre of Barattieri's force 
was hardly needed to produce open rebellion. 

" If we must have tyrants," said one, " we much prefer 
the Bourbons. They were tyrants, but they were not 
fools!" 

I well remember seeing the return of some of the troop- 
ships. The men seemed to be dazed. Their eyes 
were dull and their speech was almost plaintive. They 
had no idea of what it had all been about, and the noise 
was still in their ears. Judgment had descended upon 
their host like a stroke of lightning. Ill-armed, ill-fed, 
ill-disciplined, they had been pushed into the fight, for 
no other reason than to save the Government's reputa- 
tion, and loud and deep were the curses of those who 
saw them struggle towards the hospital. 

It happened that I had my first sight of them on 
one of those Mediterranean evenings that seem to have 
come straight from the gates of Heaven without pausing 
187 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

long enough on the way to be spoiled by the contact with 
anything imperfect. Two or three ships were in the har- 
bour, and boatloads of soldiers — the hopelessly crippled, 
— were being brought ashore. The populace had read 
the accounts in the papers, and had been proportionately 
horrified, but its intense anger with the authorities had 
almost clouded its compassion for the sufferers. It was 
not unnatural, for no one can feel real sympathy unless 
he has real understanding — and that comes only from 
sight. It was the same, during the Boer War, with the 
public at home. The world wondered at the matter-of- 
fact way in which the British took their trials — and the 
world did well; but (and of this I am quite sure) some 
measure of that apparent strength of mind was due to 
unfamiliarity with the nature of war, and to the distance 
which separated England from the theatre of operations. 
There was the sense, always, of watching a play from the 
wings. It could not become absolutely real, even to the 
men who were leaving to serve In it, until they were 
actually in it — for that, I have first-hand evidence, if 
it were needed. No man, however brave, however 
keen for advancement, would, having seen War, ever 
rejoice for personal reasons at the prospect of seeing it 
again. 

It was the sight of two dust-coloured figures limping 
up the street, their arms around each other, that gave me 
my first sensation of the actuality of the horrors we had 
been reading about. 

One was on crutches, his left leg cut off at the knee, 
his face settled into lines of pain and weariness; the 
i88 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

other, with grimy bandages on his head, an empty sleeve, 
and that same look of unseeing melancholy on his face. 
It was Tragedy passing by in the flesh. Then I began to 
understand, and my imagination woke up. I forgot all 
other aspects of the case, for a while, as the instant 
mental pictures of what had happened to those two men, 
back there in East Africa, passed before me. Visions of 
stabbing, slashing, shooting savages, of death and mutila- 
tion everywhere; of the puzzled, frightened, unprepared 
men, the slow crumpling-up of the defence, and the last 
hideous moment when the lath and plaster edifice of a 
mutual confidence and a mutual discipline gave way and 
each knew that he was abandoned to his own resources, 
with no possible hope of help from officer or comrade. 

It was a week later that a little crowd of people 
gathered to chat in the middle of Naples in the cool of 
the evening. The police paid them no attention; every 
one gathered thus at the same hour, and if there were a 
few more now, it was natural enough. Almost imper- 
ceptibly, the evening began to merge into the twilight, 
and the blue bay became a great darkness wherein the 
riding lights of the ships twinkled and gleamed. Silence 
came down over the waters, and invaded even the nar- 
row, dirty streets along the shore. The night sounds of 
the city presently seemed to be concentrating themselves 
in groups, and, before any one was well aware of it, the 
little crowd aforementioned had taken on the dimen- 
sions of a good-sized mob. Voices began to repeat one 
name, with many accompanying epithets. As a fire 
gathers strength, the muttering rose into a crackle, the 
i8q 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

crackle into a roar and the roar became a howl in which 
only one word was distinct — " Crispi ! " 

The police took themselves out of the way ("What 
could such a few, however brave, do against that?" as 
one officer put it). The crowd, moved as though by a 
single mind, started in the direction of the outskirts, grow- 
ing as it went. In a very short time it came to the beau- 
tiful villa which the Prime Minister had built to house 
his leisure, and then, with a yell, broke for it. 

How it was saved from fire is a miracle. Perhaps the 
people had a shrewd idea that such a loss might be made 
good by insurance, though crowds, as a rule, are not apt 
to think. But even fire could not have added much to 
the result, for the villa was gutted from top to bottom, 
the doors and windows smashed, china, curtains, and 
tapestries destroyed, pictures wrecked — it was as though 
a typhoon had blown through it. The gardens were 
ruined too, and the gates torn off their hinges. The 
cellar, needless to say, was drained dry — probably at 
the start, for the mob took their time. 

That brought Crispi to the earth. His courage was 
never his strongest feature. Even in the shadow of Gari- 
baldi's wing, he used to shrink sometimes, and now he 
collapsed completely, taking his colleagues with him. 
That was the end of the war. As the pious natives of 
the " Penisola " said: "The devil has eaten his child 
at last — let us hope that his stomach is strong! " 

We were at Sant' Agnello when the local contingent 
— the little that remained of it — returned from 
Massouah; had the Sorrentini caught a glimpse of Crispi 
190 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

at that time he would have been torn limb from limb. 
The invalids were housed in the old palace on the square 
of Massa, and it became painful to drive past there, so 
pitiful was the aspect of the pale, maimed ghosts who 
wandered about or sat in the sun, looking at everything 
with despairing, stony eyes. The doctor who had been 
through the campaign with them told me that its horrors 
had been beyond description. No ambulance corps was 
provided; the wounded lay where they fell till the wives 
of Menelik's warriors came out to perpetrate every 
species of torture and outrage on their helpless bodies; 
those who died were the fortunate ones — the few 
survivors would be invalids all their lives. One poor 
fellow who had escaped the notice of the torturers by 
some happy chance — probably they thought he was 
dead — said that he had lain for two days and nights 
on that fatal field and then, addressing a fervent prayer 
to our Lady of Pompeii, had got to his feet and walked 
for another day or two, at the end of which, to his over- 
whelming joy, he had found himself at home! It was 
useless to insist that he must have been light-headed with 
fever caused by his wound — that no human feet could 
walk from Massouah to Sorrento. He knew better; the 
Blessed Madonna had indeed accompanied him and here 
he was! "La Madonna v'accompagni ! " (May Our 
Lady accompany you) is the usual farewell in South Italy, 
and those were probably the last words his family 
addressed to him when he left home. 

As one climbs the hills behind Sant' Agnello the climate 
seems to change; the air growing cool and thin, more of 
191 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the sea than of the land. For a time one follows the deep, 
narrow roads that wind between high brick walls — 
dusty underfoot, but garlanded overhead with vines and 
pomegranates and oleanders spilling over every wall-top 
from the carefully tended " vigna " within. Of this the 
surface is only two or three feet below the parapet on the 
inner side, the roads having been cut, like the lanes in 
Devonshire, by the traffic of ages, some twenty or thirty 
feet lower. This disposition gives the owners of the land 
distinct advantages in the way of ready-made drainage, 
holes being left in the walls at fairly regular intervals, 
through which the moisture can escape when the precious 
soil within has had Its fill. But it gives them something 
which they, together with all the inhabitants of South 
Italy, prize still more — the pleasant and varied vantage 
points from which they can lean, with crossed elbows and 
in glorious inaction, to watch the world below. 

In Rome the daily and never-failing recreation of the 
women of the lower classes is to pass an hour or two at the 
window when all the rest of the world is abroad. For this 
they dress their hair elaborately, don a freshly starched 
white '* camisole," and, always in couples, lean on the red 
strip of cushion provided for the purpose, and watch and 
discuss the passers-by below, just as we watch and discuss 
the actors in a play. Every suburban villa has, beside 
its front gate, a large window set high in the wall, with a 
widely projecting grating. Within, a flight of steps leads 
up to a tiny square terrace with stone seats — from which 
everything that happens in the world outside — a squad- 
ron of cavalry riding by, a funeral accompanied by a long 
192 



SUNSHLXE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

procession of chanting monks, a quarrel between two 
tipsy wine-carters, a Cardinal's carriage or a fashionable 
woman's victoria — all can be seen and enjoyed to the full. 
Down in the Penisola the vigna-parapet supplies the 
same want, and the gregarious, sociable folk can ex- 
change opinions and gossip very comfortably across the 
road far above the heads of those who travel it. From 
below one catches quaint pictures sometimes. I remember 
one old fellow whom we used to call " the Roman Ghost," 
so completely did he carry out one's idea of a prosperous 
" vignarolo " under the Emperors. He had one attribute 
of a ghost, at any rate — he always appeared in the same 
spot and in the same attitude; leaning with both hands 
on the parapet, he looked down on us poor barbarians 
with joyful contempt, the sun playing on his broad white 
head through the dancing green of the vine leaves, and 
making Dionysian patterns on his spotless white clothes. 
He had the heavy jaws and strongly marked features of 
the pampered slave who fawned and flattered his master 
into making him a freedman, and the brilliantly intelli- 
gent dark eyes that would never fail to discern an op- 
portunity for self-advancement. With the fulness of 
gratified carnal desires written all over him, yet the crea- 
ture shone with the light of animal happiness, and had the 
gods ever consented to grow old, might have stood for one 
who had renounced the chill glories of Olympus to end 
his days among the sun and vines of earth. Why do 
people who have painters' eyes so often miss having 
painters' fingers? I would have given so much to per- 
petuate that queer vision! 

193 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Another I had, and a most lovely one, on the heights 
leading to Sant' Agata. I was driving alone and revelling 
in the thin, clear air, all perfumed with the wild myrtle 
in full flower and the honey-scented yellow broom, when 
I saw coming towards me, on one of the narrow terraces 
that separate the olive trees, a striking little procession. 
Four young girls, evidently " Children of Mary," dressed 
in white, with blue girdles, and wearing wreaths of white 
flowers on their heads, came singing a hymn and carry- 
ing on their shoulders a cofl'in — a small, pretty coffin cov- 
ered with crimson velvet and studded with gold nails in 
which the sunshine, through the flickering olive branches, 
made twinkling corruscations. It was some young maid 
of their playfellows, whose body they were carrying 
to the Parish Church for its obsequies. They swung along 
lightly enough, and though their pretty faces were grave, 
their eyes shone with happy peace — the little friend 
must have been a good child and was surely safe in 
Paradise ! 

It was a great contrast to another funeral In which 
I had had to take an active part earlier in the year — 
that of a poor little Russian woman whom her doctors 
had sent to Sorrento to die of consumption. They had 
told her that once across the Alps she would find her- 
self in perpetual summer (!) and she and her husband 
had brought scarcely any warm clothes with them. He 
was a small official of some kind — the most depressed, 
puzzled creature I ever saw. They put up at a very 
cheap " pension," and for all the weeks of his leave he 
sat there watching her die, while she fought the idea of 
194 



SUNSHINE AND SHADOW IN PENISOLA 

death with furious tenacity. She would not die — she 
was going to get well, quite well! The husband had to 
return to his post; a married sister came from Odessa 
to take his place for the little time that remained — and 

then, bitterly unwilling, poor little Madame gave 

up the fight and died. 

Now, to die in an Italian hotel is to give the greatest 
offence to its proprietor, because such an incident 
will probably scare away all his guests; so we had to 
keep the thing secret for the one night and day 
that intervened before arrangements could be made 
for the burial. The innkeeper threatened to ask heavy 
damages if any one came to know of it! Meanwhile, 
the sister from Odessa swore that everything should be 
done in the fashion of her own country, and rushed round 
to the shops to buy white tarlatan and ribbon for the 
ball dress; and, especially, a pair of white satin shoes — 
no self-respecting people would bury a young woman in 
anything else ! At last she got it all together — and 
showed me her handiwork proudly — the blue velvet 
coffin, the ball dress, and those white satin shoes on the 
bare dead feet — it was grim in the extreme. But 
grimmer was the business of getting the poor body away, 
after dark, when all the visitors were gathered in the 
dining-room at the table d'hote, whence came sounds of 
talk and laughter and much clattering of knives and forks. 
We must not have the coffin carried down stairs, lest 
some one should see it, so it was pushed out of a side 
window onto a terrace just below, and from there 
lowered with ropes for some twenty feet to the hearse. 
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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

It was a pitch dark night and no lights were allowed — 
one felt as if one were helping some murderer to 
dispose of the slain. 

The Russian priest could not come over from Naples 
for a couple of days to attend to the funeral, so the coffin 
had to be left in one of the gaterooms of the cemetery, 
a room where the guardian of the place kept his squalid 
toilet arrangements scattered about anyhow, and where 
somebody had dumped a huge plaster Venus — Heaven 
knows why — perhaps in the hope of selling her to some 
unwary foreigner. Two tallow candles were forth- 
coming, which we lighted and left burning, and after 
kneeling down and saying a few prayers, we went sadly 
home — leaving the mortal remains of poor little 

Madame in that grim solitude. The ugliness and 

humiliation of death had never struck me so forcibly 
before. I suppose it is good to have them brought home 
to one, — and to realise that, after all, we are here only 
" VermI " — and yet,^ thank God, " Nati a formal 
I'angelica farfalla! " 

1 "Worms — born to become the angelic butterfly." — Dante. 



196 



IX 

RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

A Twilight Drive — Ravello by Moonlight — " The Immortals " — Uncle 
Sam at the Cocumella — A Purely Personal Question — A Squall in the 
Bay — The Sun-smitten Island — Uncle Sam at Anacapri — " Oh, wenn es 
nur immer so bliebe!" — Doctor Munthe's Villa — The Library of My 
Dreams — A Homesick Sphynx — Marion's Rock-study — A " Festa 
on the Terrace " — The Barber Musician and His Troupe — The Catas- 
trophe of Casamicciola — The Parroco and His Free-thinkers. 

MORE than once in my life I have felt that by some 
grace of heaven the most beautiful sights in the 
world were shown to me In circumstances so befitting, that 
I would never have planned them myself, and only friend 
Nature could have carried them out. One of these was 
my first visit to Ravello, the Norman-Moorish palace that 
hangs like a flower out of reach, on the topmost crag 
above Amalfi and the sea. As in far Japan I first be- 
held the great Buddha of Kamakura under a flood of 
moonlight,^ so also at Ravello the white arches and 
fretted windows, the hanging roses and pale syrlngas 
of the fairy palace were shown to me first under a full 
moon whose glory takes my breath away as I remember It. 
We had driven over from Sorrento In the afternoon 
— dined on the terrace of the famous Convent hotel, 
wandered under the vine-shaded pergolas, and, just as 

^ See "A Diplomatist's Wife in Japan." 
197 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the sun was setting, had taken carriage for the long, 
rocky road to Ravello. It was In the late summer, and the 
deep ravine whose sides we climbed and skirted was dark 
with velvety foliage, the edge of the path all fringed 
with wild rosemary and yellow broom, this last filling the 
air with the scent of honey. Half-way up, our drivers 
had paused to make us call up the weird echo that lives in 
a cave across the ravine. Its replies were so prompt and 
clear and mocking that to this day I cannot rid myself 
of the thought that the sweet voice that made them came 
from a human throat. " Good-bye, Echo ! " some one 
called, and as the answering " good-bye " floated over 
the intervening depths, we moved on, reaching the tiny 
mountain town just In time to see something of the 
Cathedral by twilight, which indeed became its cool By- 
zantine beauty well. But the great attraction Is the Pa- 
lazzo Rufolo, and through its lovely courts and gardens 
we wandered for a long time, unwilling to leave the exquis- 
ite. Inaccessible place until every detail of it should have 
sunk Into our minds. It was both my first and last visit 
there. I never have wished to spoil the memory of it by 
seeing It again. Marion, of course, knew it well, as he 
knew every point of the coast, and it was here that, at my 
sister Daisy's suggestion, he laid the scene of his fanciful 
book, " The Immortals." I was at the other side of the 
world when it was written, but the other members of 
the family each contributed a character; Doctor John- 
son was Daisy's admiration of the moment — why, I 
could never understand, since she was living rather In 
the clouds just then. Mrs. Berdan, Marlon's mother-In- 
iq8 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

law, was responsible for Francis I, and — well, I forget 
the rest of the incongruous, yet attractive, company of 
shades who were recalled to Earth to enlighten and up- 
lift the circle of brainy but bored people whom the writer's 
imperious fancy called into being to populate the palace 
on the rocks. 

It was at Sorrento, in 1883, that Uncle Sam rose once 
more upon our horizon, and in such a happy mood that, 
although for several of us it had not been a cheerful year, 
the rest of the summer became one long smile. Marion 
was not married then — his Villa was still but a possession 
of dreams — and we were all living on different floors 
of the Cocumella, which place became at once a kind of 
family home, while the proprietor and his wife, the good 
Gargiulos, gathered us to their hearts like long-lost rela- 
tions. I forget what Uncle Sam had been doing for the 
past few years, but whatever it was he had got tired of 
it, and for a while he only asked to bask in the sun, be 
amused, and make other people happy. These laudable 
desires were fully satisfied. It seemed as if the Piano di 
Sorrento must have been the very birthplace of his soul, 
so absolutely did its sunny, happy-go-lucky atmosphere 
suit his mental requirements. He used to sit on the terrace, 
gazing out over the Bay, just intoxicated with beauty. 
Never had his eyes been so bright, his voice so musical, 
his laugh so catching. Active as a boy, he would go out 
swimming with Marion far into deep water, come back 
and join us nearer shore in wonderful feats of diving and 
fancy swimming, sit on the rocks to get dry while he watched 
my two little boys being taught the elements of the art 
199 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

by MIchele, the house's official boatman — then slowly 
climb the long, mysterious stairways through the cliff to 
the orange garden above and, fresh as any of us, attack 
the midday meal with the appetite of a schoolboy. After 
that, we women, with the children, relapsed into siesta, 
after the wise Italian habit, but Uncle Sam could sit in 
the open air through all those blazing hours, smoking, 
dreaming, tasting the pure balm of health and peace and 
heat as I think he had never tasted it before — and never 
would again, alas ! for the next summer took him from us. 

Such thoughts were far away, however, in 1883, which 
I knew in some strange way must be the close of my youth. 
Not because I was already over thirty, but because the 
real issues of life were presenting themselves to me 
clamorously and imperiously. Through many hard 
conflicts of that and the succeeding year the presence of 
those two men, my dear brother and the beloved Uncle, 
sustained my courage and fostered the instinct of spirit- 
ual self-preservation which bitter prejudice in other 
quarters had nearly overcome. If these personal details 
are thought out of place in a book destined for the 
general public — well, the general public must remember 
that in its apparently well-ordered ranks there must be 
many a soul undergoing the trials that assailed me then. 
On one side conviction so profound that the life or death 
of my soul hung on following or forsaking it — on the 
other inherited beliefs and principles too invincible to be 
overcome. 

It was at that time that a very holy friend 
who had been turned out of her home for following 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

her convictions, wrote to me, " You will never do your 
dear ones any good so long as you are resisting 
grace," And that is what I would like to hand on to 
other combatants in the same field, together with what 
has been not only my own experience but that of many 
other converts, too — namely, that, as a rule, these 
terrible obstacles are all " bogies," invented and put for- 
ward by that arch-bully, the Devil, to frighten us away 
from doing our duty. Human pity, true love, even in 
the dear hearts we are so regretfully grieving, above all, 
the never-failing mercy of Heaven, generally prevail, 
and when at last one has trusted the righteousness of 
one's cause and taken the plunge, the strong hand carries 
one on past all the dreaded rocks to a peaceful and 
possible harbour. 

The time of waiting and weighing conflicting duties 
is the most painful, so true is Hegel's only true saying: 
" Tragedy is not the conflict between Right and Wrong, 
but the conflict between Right and Right," It was during 
all this period that my brother Marion's sympathy and 
Uncle Sam's unfailing hopefulness and kindness helped 
me so much. To Uncle Sam religion, as such, did not 
represent what it meant to us, but his second wife, my 
pretty Aunt Medora, was a Catholic, his two boys were 
brought up in her faith, and his feeling towards it was 
always one of affectionate reverence. Besides, he and we 
were of the same stock and inherited the blessed power 
of enjoying all delightful things to the utmost, regardless 
of dark clouds looming on the horizon. 

Speaking of such stormy harbingers reminds me of a try- 

201 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

ing experience that we had In the Bay that summer. Uncle 
Sam took it into his head to sail across to Naples one morn- 
ing and eat " frutti di mare " at Santa Lucia. Hugh had 
come down from Rome for a few days, and he, a real lover 
of the sea, was easily persuaded to join us, when, towards 
ten o'clock, we four set sail in Marion's little open boat, 
the Margherita. The wind was favourable and the day 
divine; we made the " Immacolatella " In a very short 
time and had an enchanting day in Naples, ending up with 
dining in the open air on every variety of " sea things 
strange " and some excellent wine which Uncle Sam much 
appreciated. When we descended the steps to our boat, 
however, our four sailors shook their heads and pointed 
warningly to a thin black line on the far horizon, lying 
under one long, pale green streak of sky. There was a 
squall coming, they said, and the " eccelentissimi Signori," 
would do better to take the train to Castellammare and 
drive home from there. They, the men, would return the 
next morning — it was not a safe night to put to sea. 

Unhappily my three men belonged to the large class 
which mistakes prudence for cowardice. Like St. Frangols 
de Sales — who, however, applied the term only to the 
limitation of large-handed charity — they could have said, 
" I do not know what this poor virtue of Prudence has 
done to me, but I have never been able to make friends 
with her ! " My brother had only that summer begun 
his sailing experiences along the coast, and my husband 
and my Uncle, together with him, laughed at our sailors' 
entreaties and ordered them to put off at once. Most 
unwillingly they did so, for with the best of luck they 
202 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

would have to row all the way, the wind coming only in 
short, ill-tempered gusts, first from one quarter and then 
from another. 

It was seven o'clock when we left the pier, and at 
eight the sea suddenly turned ink-black and we saw 
one long white line like a razor-edge racing in from the 
open sea. The next moment it struck our beam with a 
screaming onslaught of wind and water that all but 
swamped us then and there. I have ridden out bad storms 
at sea, but the fighting that one in a tiny open boat surpassed 
them all for terror, wetness and misery. No one spoke — 
the screaming of the wind made speech useless. I had 
been trained to fear nothing so much as the showing that 
I was afraid; and my men, of course, set their faces 
and gave no sign. The poor sailors' countenances showed 
ashy white against the blackness around us, but they bent 
to their oars like heroes, soon catching the trick of skim- 
ming the troughs and shooting the crests of the huge 
breakers without shipping more water than we could carry. 
But at every stroke a deluge broke over us and I was 
certain that my last hour had come. It seemed as if 
that would have mattered little if only Hugh were not, 
literally, in the same boat. If we were both drowned, 
as seemed inevitable, who on earth was going to take 
care of the children? 

Between the gusts of the squall the sailors began 
to entreat to be allowed to take us to Castellammare 
— the wind was blowing us that way, and they as- 
sured us they could make the port safely in less than 
an hour. I joined my entreaties to theirs, but Marion 
203 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

was obdurate. He would land at our own " calata " — 
or nowhere — so we laboured on through the darkness, 
pitchy now, only directing our course by the lights in the 
towns on the Sorrento side when, for a moment or two, 
they became visible through the rain and the breakers. 
We certainly "looped the loop " that night; again and 
again we were carried towards Castellammare to beat 
and fight westwards as best we could. The sailors, 
drenched and exhausted, had been promising untold 
wax candles to St. Antonino if they ever reached the 
shore. 

At last our own cliffs loomed dark and enormous be- 
tween us and the sky, and a merciful fall of the wind saved 
us from smashing up on the rocks. I felt as if we had been 
out all night, but I was told that it was soon after eleven 
when I was lifted out of that dreadful little boat and set 
on my feet on good wet stone — and then my wrath found 
tongue to express my opinion of the menfolk who had 
exposed me to such a trial. The others escaped me, but 
my husband got it in gasps all the time he was dragging me 
up the long steps to the house, where we presented our- 
selves to our anxious relatives like wraiths from the deep 
sea — dripping, blue-lipped, unrecognisable. The heat of 
my anger, I fancy, prevented my taking cold, but it was 
many days before any one could persuade me to enter 
a boat again. One is always angry at having been 
frightened and, though I have had to spend at sea what 
I think would come to years if I could count the months 
of my many long voyages, yet I am never free from that 
fear of drowning which came to me first when I was five 
204 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

years old, paddling across the Atlantic in the crazy old 
Fulton, among fields of icebergs — through blinding 
fog, with the mournful knelling of the fogbells going on 
over my head night and day. A good tearing storm I 
don't mind a bit — but fog and icebergs make me an 
abject coward. When you cannot see two yards on deck, 
and the mercury drops thirty degrees in as many seconds, 
death seems awfully close — and life looks most dearly 
sweet! 

The impression of our squally journey across the Bay 
was soon wiped out by a very charming experience — the 
taking of dear Uncle Sam to Capri for a couple of days, 
which I think he would have prolonged indefinitely if we 
had been willing to leave him there. The sun-smitten 
island, with its green heights basking almost shamelessly 
in the flood of light and heat, has a curious power of re- 
viving the happiest of man's merely earthly instincts and 
making a joyful innocent animal out of even such a 
philosopher and cosmopolitan as was Uncle Sam. Sitting 
against the hot terrace wall on the southern side, with the 
hot, blue Mediterranean spreading away to where the blue 
of the sky grows white hot on the midday horizon, 
the thinking man becomes merely the sentient one, content, 
as Thoreau was, " to sit and grow in the sun like corn." 
The " vaporetto " comes puffing over from Naples with 
the mails, the bare-legged Capri goddesses wade out into 
the water, ready to carry your trunk on their heads or 
you on their shoulders for a few coppers; the " vetturini " 
farther up try to kill each other and drive over you in 
their fight to secure a fare to Pagano's hotel; there are 
205 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

shops and restaurants and a fair imitation of Italian sea- 
port life. 

But when once you are over the crest and have reached 
AnacaprI, all that is left behind; silence, warm green 
silence is around you. You can watch the jessamines and 
orange blossoms (the dear, fat, ivory orange blossoms 
that bloom almost all the year round) popping and burst- 
ing in the sunshine till their scent makes you lean back 
against the wall and doze in a dream of heady fragrance. 
On the little marble table beside you the bubbles come and 
go in the topaz-coloured wine, and a dish — ancient, 
highly coloured majolica — spills over some of its pile of 
flesh-tinted " fico d'India " which the hostess's cool, white 
fingers have peeled and placed there to keep you good till 
dinner. Who wants to thifik when mere living is such a 
joy? The only thought that comes Is, " Oh, wenn es nur 
immer so bliebe ! " 

As the sun begins to sink towards the west a fairy 
breeze comes up from the dimpling sea, and the palms 
and orange trees sing little songs of gratitude. Out comes 
the Signor Pagano of the moment, all smiles, and says, 
" The vaporetto has gone, Eccellenza. We shall have 
the happiness of keeping you till to-morrow! " And one 
sighs, remembering that there is such a thing as to-morrow 
and that it will snatch one out of this Eden dreamland 
back to the world of mental chores, of conflicting claims 
and unfulfilled duties tripping you up at every turn. Never 
mind, there are twenty-four hours of paradise left to 
enjoy first, and Capri will not swim out to sea; It has 
been the same since the days of Tiberius and for ages 
206 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

before that — with its beautiful women, its incomparable 
grapes, its tropical life-giving heat. I was there once in 
January and the place seemed as hot as in August. One 
did not dare to stand in the sun without an umbrella. 

As a contrast to Pagano's hothouse of an inn, I recall 
Doctor Munthe's villa built on the other side, on the very 
spire of a crest that juts out into the sea and looks towards 
the Punta della Campanella, the low, rocky promontory, 
that marks the end of the Penisola and divides the Bay 
of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno. That is a land view, 
so to speak, the " Campanella " being not more than fifteen 
miles away, and, stretching along behind it, the towering 
heights that culminate in Monte Sant' Angelo, rising like a 
giant watch-tower between the Piano di Sorrento and the 
world to the south. Across the Bay was the magic out- 
line of Vesuvius, sloping so softly down to far-away 
Naples, which looks by daylight like a great string of pink 
corals flung down on the shore and at night like a neck- 
lace of stars just dropped from the sky. 

Munthe's villa was not Italian at all. He had found the 
remains of an old convent on the spot, small, secluded 
courts and white-pillared cloisters, and had reverently 
kept to the old idea while utilising every point to make a 
possible modern dwelling house. It was not large, but 
the pavilions and courts were separated by marble-paved 
walks through soft, shadowy greenery, and in a few 
minutes I had succeeded in losing the rest of the party 
and enjoying the most perfect solitude. 

Pausing to rest in a little court with low fretted 
balustrades and moss-damasked seats, I saw before 
207 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

me a low, pointed archway, closed by a heavy oak door 
splendid with old ironwork bolts and hinges. It gave to 
my touch and I entered the only room I have ever coveted 
in my life, a library that must once have been the chapel. 
It was of perfect proportions, with oaken rafters rising 
to meet overhead; all round the walls were the old carved 
stalls, reverently polished, and of lustrous darkness. On 
the raised dais at the top stood the lectern for the reader, 
a magnificent old missal spread open for the delicate 
blues and golds of the illuminations to catch the light. 
Carved tables ran down the centre of the space, with 
more missals, bossed and clasped, piled here and there, 
and over all was the cool, clear light that readers dream 
of and can scarcely ever obtain, falling through high 
mullioned windows where leaf shadows twined and en- 
twined in a '* moire " of green and gold as the sun and 
breeze had their will of them outside. The place was 
absolutely holy in its seclusion and peace — a kind of 
Thebaid for the spirit where, surely, if the spirit came in 
purified and humble mood, the heavenly spirits that have 
never been anything but pure and humble would not dis- 
dain to visit and converse with it. 

Leaving regretfully this lovely sanctuary of thought, 
I went on through the garden and suddenly drew back, 
alarmed, for it seemed as if another step would fling me 
down into the sea, hundreds of feet below. So sudden was 
the revelation that I clung to the parapet dizzily for a 
minute — and then, looking up, found that I was leaning 
against the flank of a great white marble sphynx, whose 
pale, inscrutable profile between me and the sky struck 
208 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

a strange note of fatality In that serene and lonely place. 
There she sits, on the last jutting point of rock, between 
sea and sky, looking towards the mainland with unseeing, 
stony eyes, as If dreaming of the golden Egyptian sands 
and the mystic Nile that are her birthright. " I brought 
her from Egypt, myself," said Doctor Munthe. " She 
is homesick, but she likes the view." 

His was an interesting personality. In him, upon the 
innate mysticism of the North, there had grafted Itself 
a devout love of beauty and a power of sympathy which 
many people mistook for an occult force — so completely 
did he dominate his patients for their good; and to this 
was added a certain generous recklessness of outlook, 
which caused him to suffer acutely when he came in con- 
tact with the meanness and hypocrisy so common in the 
world. He had the memory of a heart-rending private 
tragedy to companion him night and day, a tragedy com- 
paratively recent when I fell in with him, but it seemed to 
have been an Inspiration towards higher things, to have 
made him only feel the more tenderly for others in trouble. 
How he could feel was shown In his book, " A Mourning 
City," which wrung all hearts by its account of bright, 
happy Naples suffering under the scourge of the cholera. 
He had devoted months to trying to save the life of one 
lovely girl — snatched away at sixteen by consumption, 
and when I saw him he had just returned from visiting 
the family — to find that her twin sister was already far 
on the same road, — Munthe had tears in his eyes as he 
told me, — too far to recall, as events showed. 

It must have been some time during the next winter that 
209 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

I happened to wander in to have a chat with my former 
playmate, Waldo Story, in his garden studio near the site 
of our old Villa Negroni, and saw the monument he had 
just completed for the first girl's grave, — a life-size statue- 
portrait of her in pure white marble, lying as if asleep 
and dreaming happily, on a couch all fringed and wreathed 
with roses — a monument as serenely delicate and gentle 
as the old Roman one that I have always loved, the 
bas-relief of a little ship just gathered into port, with 
smiling Loves hovering over it to furl the sails. 

I think the great doctor had built his Capri villa more 
for the sake of knowing it was there than with any hope of 
inhabitating it permanently; which was just as well, per- 
haps, for Capri is too enchanting to prove a vitalising 
home for northern spirits. As a temporary sojourn it does 
them worlds of good (was it not in Capri that Schaffel 
wrote the immortal " Trompeter von Sakkingen"?) — 
but more than one promising artist and writer has 
found the place fatal to labour and ambition. When we 
of the south hear that such an one has settled in Capri 
we sigh, " good-bye, friend ! " Fallen nature finds it all 
too easy to drift into sloth and inanity in that Lotus land 
where life smiles all the year round — and costs so little ! 

Sorrento has quite another atmosphere and we have all 
found it favourable enough to brain-work at all times. 
Marion was the only one who attempted this when Uncle 
Sam was with us there, however. He wrote in the open 
air, making a study in the recess of one of the huge, 
arched windows that afford light to the long stairways cut 
inside the rock to give access to the otherwise unapproach- 

2IO 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

able cove which was the Hotel's " Marina." I came upon 
my brother every morning with the same sense of pleas- 
ure and surprise, as I emerged from one of the darkest 
of those long flights to another which led down to his 
landing. There he sat at his little table, his beautiful 
profile cut clear against the calm, empty sweep of sea and 
sky, with the high, irregular arch for a frame, and some 
long streamers of the wild caper, with its yellow blos- 
soms, waving in and out on the breeze. An earthenware 
jug of water always stood on the ground beside his chair, 
and that and a plate of maccheroni carried down at mid- 
day was all he took by way of sustenance till his writing 
hours were over, — nor might any one speak to him till 
then. But when they were over, he wanted all the change 
and amusement attainable, and he was not happy unless 
we were all happy and amused too. 

What " festas " we organised that summer! An 
anniversary, a birthday, anything served for an excuse, and 
then the terrace of my mother's apartment was hung all 
round with Chinese lanterns swinging like fairy fruit 
among the vines, the table was covered with carnations 
and sweet verbena, some wonderful vintage was dug out 
of the cellars, and the Cocumella cook would surpass him- 
self to provide a feast that should give satisfaction to the 
adored " Signorino Mario." 

Then, when dinner was cleared away and the coffee 
and cigarettes were going round, the famous Tarantella 
company would be ushered in — Giacchino the barber, 
first tenor, composer, dancer, and mandolinist, his beau- 
tiful wife (on whose account it was said that he suffered 

21 I 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

agonies of jealousy), with three other couples, as young 
and handsome as heart could desire — all in their most 
brilliant costumes. How they sang and danced and 
played, those artisan artists of the Penisola ! What 
voices they had — what grace and swing ! Uncle 
Sam went nearly crazy with delight the first time they 
performed for him, and I must say that we all lost our 
heads a little that night — there was something so subtly 
intoxicating about it all ! 

Suddenly Uncle Sam looked troubled. He turned to 
me and asked, quite sternly, " Why are n't the little boys 
here to enjoy this?" I reminded him that it was long 
past their bedtime, and that the eldest had been very ill 
all the spring and must not be excited in any way for a 
long time to come. " Well, I shall go and get Nino, 
he shan't miss it, at any rate ! " he replied, rising, and a few 
minutes later he returned with my smallest boy in his arms, 
wrapped up in a blanket, smiling sleepily. For the rest 
of the evening Uncle Sam held him on his knee, and the 
child laughed and sang with the singers and had his little 
sip of wine — and repeated all the songs for us the next 
day. 

Sometimes, on quiet evenings, when the moonlight lay 
silent on the sea and the vine-garlands seemed cut in 
verde-antico against the sky, Marion and Daisy would 
sing strange old songs that set one dreaming — or cry- 
ing, as the case might be. Once Daisy made my brother 
into an Egyptian deity, with close, square-drawn, white 
draperies that looked like marble in the moonlight, and 
as he sat there, still as marble itself, his hands on the 

212 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

arms of the stone seat, looking out to sea, he began to 
sing a strange old chant that he had heard somewhere 
on the coast — the oldest known chant in the world, he 
told us afterwards. His voice then was very pure and 
strong, and the effect, as the solemn notes poured out in 
the still moonlit night, was unutterably soul-stirring. 

It was on a night of that same year (the 5th of August, 
if I remember rightly) that my sister Daisy and I hap- 
pened to be standing alone on the terrace enjoying the 
coolness and silence that had come down with the dark- 
ness, — a peculiar silence, I remember, unbroken by the 
tinkle of a single mandolin or even the usual lapping of 
the water against the cliff. Vesuvius had growled a little, 
but we were too accustomed to that to take any notice 
of it, and now it, too, was still, its heavy cap of smoke 
hanging dark and sultry against the starlit sky. Suddenly 
a terrific report smote the silence, one great " boom " that 
rolled away and repeated itself again and again in the 
mountains behind us and the vast caves and stairways 
that honeycombed the rocks below. For a moment we 
were terrified — we had never heard anything quite 
like that before — but when the echoes had died away 
and nothing seemed to have happened we concluded that 
it was just some new caprice of our neighbour, the vol- 
cano, and soon forgot all about it. 

In 'the grey of the dawn, next morning, a crazed, gib- 
bering creature, covered with blood and almost dead with 
exhaustion, rowed to our Marina, was pulled in by some 
of the fishermen, and collapsed on the sand, crying that 
Ischia had gone to the bottom of the sea. They tried 
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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

to calm him, washed his wounds and gave him food and 
drink, but he persisted in his story, repeating, with many 
tears, " Ischia is destroyed, there is nothing left ! " Con- 
cluding that the poor fellow was a maniac, the Sindaco 
was preparing to take charge of him, when the news of the 
Casamicciola catastrophe came over the wires, and the 
appalling extent of the disaster caused the first herald 
of it to be forgotten. The hot springs for which 
Casamicciola was famous had so mined the soil on which 
the town stood that it was reduced to a mere crust cov- 
ering vast reservoirs of boiling, sulphurous water. The 
surface must have given, soon, although there had 
been no sinking that could be appreciated; but when 
a series of earthquake shocks struck it the place 
crumbled at once and the destruction was most awfully 
complete. 

It was the height of the season for the baths, and 
the hotels were crowded with visitors, most of whom 
perished, either crushed under the debris or scalded in 
the torrents of the unlocked springs. Those who sur- 
vived spoke of the overwhelming suddenness of the 
disaster — there was no time to rise from a seat before 
the walls of the room crashed down upon them. One 

man, I remember. Prince , had been sitting on a 

sofa, talking to a very well-known and charming woman, 
when a heavy bureau skated across the floor to her, and 
the next instant the house had fallen in, floor dropping 
through floor and burying the unhappy victims under 

mountains of masonry. Prince said that when he 

came to himself he was standing with his back against a 
214 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

wall, in perfect darkness; feeling before him he found 
that he had been saved by some large planks, which had 
been thrown, as if to protect him, against the same wall, 
slanting outwards like the sides of a wigwam and leav- 
ing exactly standing room for one person. Above and 
beyond them were piles of ruined masonry and wood- 
work which they were solid enough to support without 
giving way. The prisoner realised that he must stand 
there until he was rescued, and he wound up his repeater 
watch to mark the passing of the hours. 

For two days and nights he thus kept count of the time. 
Numbers of troops were told off to dig out the victims, 
and those who were alive at least had the consolation of 
hearing the unceasing sound of picks and shovels; but 
the soil was quaking and heaving still, more ruin was 
going on under repeated shocks of earthquake, and it 

was necessary to proceed with caution. Prince was 

one of the first rescued. The body of the poor lady 
who had been talking with him was not found till sev- 
eral days later, and recognised only by the rich lace on 
her dress. 

One baby of a few months old was unearthed, safe and 
smiling, but very hungry, towards the end of the second 
day. It was lying on the bed on which it had been placed 
for the night, and, through the floor above, a very large, 
high table had fallen foursquare exactly over the bed to 
make a roof for it. No engineer could have devised a 
better protection. I forget how many hundreds of poor 
souls perished — even the hospital of the Sisters of Charity 
close to the sea, where they had some two hundred 
215 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

rickety little invalids, was not spared and some lives were 
lost there. Those who were dug out alive seemed to have 
been more or less unconscious of the flight of time, and, 
in many cases, of everything else, having been stunned to 
start with. One old peasant woman was excavated 
after twelve days' burial, briskly alive still ! She thought 
two days only had passed since her imprisonment and 
said that she had slept a great part of the time. 

Refuges were at once opened in Naples for the sur- 
vivors, many of whom were badly injured, and, where 
the regular inhabitants of Casamicciola were concerned, 
had lost everything they had in the world. There were 
great numbers of orphans, very small children, who had 
perhaps escaped death by not sharing in the panic which 
caused older persons to rush into the streets and be 
crushed by the walls which mostly fell outwards. Every- 
thing possible was done to relieve the suffering; great 
sums of money were raised, private people threw open 
their houses and converted them into casual wards and 
hospitals, and the poor soldiers who had the grisly task 
of digging out the bodies continued their labour for 
weeks — under that fierce summer sun ! 

Some of us went over to Naples to see if we could help 
at all, and I saw there a beautiful illustration of active 
charity. A foreign woman who owned a large villa out- 
side the town had turned it into a camp for the refugees. 
The salon and a great ballroom were crowded with beds 
where pale, still terrified women were being nursed back 
to life, and on the lawns outside nearly a hundred tiny 
children were playing about among the flowers — the 
216 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

whole great company being tended and cared for by the 
owner, her servants, and one young friend, a fair-haired 
German girl who showed us round, tears of pity in her 
blue eyes, and a baby who had been injured held in her 
arms. 

Two days after the disaster my brother sailed over 
to Casamicciola and remained there for some days, rather 
to our dismay, for the destruction was apparently not 
over then. He said he could not keep away any longer 
and went to do what he could for the poor people. He 
was quite prepared to meet his own end there, if neces- 
sary, and went to Confession and Communion before 
starting. We made him promise not to sleep on shore, 
but to return to his boat every night, and a few days 
later he returned to us safely, but very silent and sad, 
nor would he ever talk of what he had seen. 

I am sorry to say that my dear Sorrentini did talk a 
great deal and not very charitably about poor Casamicci- 
ola and its misfortunes. The Penisola has been singu- 
larly blessed in some ways. No shock of earthquake has 
ever been felt there; when Vesuvius pours out ashes 
and lava, and Naples itself is threatened with destruction, 
the opposite coast is, barring an occasional landslide and 
slow encroachments of the sea, calm and secure. The 
Sorrentini, whose distinguishing virtue is not humility, 
attribute this immunity to a special favour of Heaven, 
bestowed as a reward for their strict observance of the 
mandates of Religion and their deep respect for all sacred 
things. Very different was the case of Ischia, and our 
people said that they had long been expecting to see 
217 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the judgment of Heaven fall on the wicked inhabi- 
tants. "What have they done, there?" I asked Luigi, 
who, as usual, was the spokesman of the community's 
sentiments. 

" Done? " he exclaimed, his eyes flashing with indigna- 
tion. " The Signora may well ask! What have they not 
done ! Last year they made a procession on Good Friday 

— with a Pulcinello nailed to the Cross ! It is a wonder 
they are not all at the bottom of the sea ! " 

I had not heard of that outrage. Why is it that the 
Latin of the lower classes, when once he abandons his 
Faith, loses all self-respect and becomes such a revolting 
creature — a cross between an obscene buffoon and a mad 
dog? 

To turn from these miserable reflections, I am bound 
to say that our own Parish Priest did not always 
give such a good account of his flock as did Luigi. " The 
sailors and fishermen are good," he told me (some years 
later, it is true). "They need Heaven's protection too 
much not to be afraid of losing it. But the townspeople, 

— ah, they are children, naughty children, ready to listen 
to any fool who talks loud enough, and we get plenty 
of them here now, telling our men that they are behind 
the times, that science has proved there is no God, and 
that Religion is a thing for women and children, not 
for grown men ! The women, poor things, are always 
faithful, but for a long time I could not get a great num- 
ber of the men to Mass. As for going to their duties — 
they would not hear of it! " 

" I kept saying to them, ' Take care ! God is patient, 
218 



RAVELLO, CAPRI, AND ISCHIA 

but you will tire Him out. Some dreadful misfortune 
will fall upon us all, and then it will be too late to say 
you are sorry! ' Signora mia," the Parroco's strong, 
dark face grew very solemn now, " it came^ that misfor- 
tune — and only the Divine Mercy averted ruin from 
many, many families! It was one night in the early 
spring — the orange trees were covered with buds — 
and you know that the oranges are our most valuable 
product — when, towards ten o'clock at night snow began 
to fall, — thick, cold, heavy snow! Some of them came 
and roused me from my sleep, crying to me to open the 
church that they might pray, and ring the church bells 
to entreat the Almighty to save the crop. And who 
do you think were the ones who sobbed the loud- 
est and rang the hardest — rang the bells in that tower 
for two hours, like maniacs? My free-thinkers, who 
had not been to Mass for months! Well, the Lord had 
pity on them. A little soft wind came up and carried all 
the snow away, and when the sun rose not a single bud had 
been frostbitten. Then they came to me all smiling and 
happy and said, ' Gnor Parroco, we wish to thank God 
for his goodness. We will now make a grand festa and 
you will sing a Te Deum, and we will have the bands, 
and fireworks, and we will pay for it all!' ' Youf I 
said to those foolish blasphemers, ' You will do nothing 
of the kind! There will be a festa and a splendid one — 
I and those good faithful women will make it — it is for 
their sakes that you have been saved from ruin — and 
I will pay for everything out of my own pocket ! Not a 
soldo shall you be allowed to contribute. Be content to 
219 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

kneel at the bottom of the church, and beat your breasts 
and ask God to pardon your great sin! ' And so it was, 
Signora mia. We had the festa and the Lord's name 
was magnified, and I have very little trouble with free- 
thinkers now. The men are like lambs ! The fright 
was most salutary for their souls." 



220 



X 

OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY AT POMPEII 

The Study in the Tower — A Marvellous Night Scene — "Japan, the 
Impersonal " — The Santuario of Pompeii — A Pious Lawyer and a For- 
saken District — A Successful Mission — The Miraculous Picture Found 
behind a Door — Its Humble Conveyance to Pompeii — A Splendid 
Throne and a Heartful of Names — Thank-offerings of Great Price — 
Saintly Collaborators — The Parish Church of the World — Orphan Girls 
and Sons of Convicts — The Fifteen Saturdays — The Miracle of Don 
Pasquale Bortone — A True Love Story — My Wayfarers — A Visit 
to the Santuario. 

LONG after the colour of my life had changed, it 
chanced that I spent a winter alone at Villa Craw- 
ford. My dear brother was in New York, Bessie and the 
children in Rome for the season, and various circum- 
stances decided me to stay at the Villa, although my 
sister-in-law protested violently, prophesying that I could 
never bear the solitude of that great house through all 
the winter days and nights, when the sea gets angry 
and flings itself against the cliff with a force that makes 
every window rattle and seems calculated to hurl the 
building itself from its foundations. However, I per- 
sisted, and was glad that I had, for during those four 
months my writing prospered exceedingly, and the entire 
absence of distractions gave me time to think over many 
things, and to store up a few more memorable impressions 
which I would not now be without. 

221 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

My workroom by day was Marion's study in the tower, 
and, sitting there from morn till dark, I was able to 
absorb something of the atmosphere that he had created 
for himself in that high eyrie, where the sounds from the 
lower world came in whispers, as it were, and one felt 
nearer the sky than the earth. He loved high and lonely 
places. I remember that once I was remarking on some 
of the almost inaccessible spots which had been chosen 
for monasteries, places where it might be said " Qui 
convien ch' uom' voli ! " And he replied, "From the 
earliest times those who desired to rise above the weak- 
nesses of human nature, to see all things as they are, 
have chosen the heights for their dwellings. Remember 
Elijah and the school of the prophets on Mount 
Carmel! The mere fact of breathing the higher air, of 
getting as far as possible above the common level, gives 
such strength to the will and clearness to the mind that, 
in some eastern countries, the law forbids any man to 
dwell higher than a certain point, because experience has 
shown that by so doing he may acquire too great a power 
over his fellow-countrymen." 

There was a wonderful sense of peace and freedom in 
that great upper room, with its many windows and its wide 
door leading to the terrace, which was in reality the roof 
of the house. From there one's glance could sweep the 
view on every side and then let it plunge down hundreds 
of feet to the sea, lapping — or hurling itself — against 
the rocks. 

Within all was simple in the extreme, nothing was there 
to distract the thoughts from the sacred claims of work. 

222 



I 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

In the centre of the room stood a huge, many-drawered 
writing table, with a raised screen of shelves on its far 
side to make a home for some half dozen precious Diirer 
etchings, the only things Marion ever cared to collect. 
In one angle a bed of the same dark wood, covered with 
Persian rugs, and beside It, on a little table, a big wooden 
candlestick (own brother to those on the Altar In the 
Franciscan Church below) supporting a section of a ten- 
pound wax candle, a thing some Inches in diameter, which 
Marion declared gave the pleasantest light for reading In 
bed. Apart from the Diirers there were scarcely any 
pictures In the room; the walls were merely plastered, 
and for pictures one had to look out of the windows. 
But there was a grand open fireplace where the olive wood 
blazed merrily on winter days, and a couple of deep arm- 
chairs — suggestive of dear companionship and long, 
happy talks. 

It was the memorable winter of 1 899-1900 that I spent 
alone at the Villa, consumed with anxiety about my boy 
out In South Africa, and I believe Marion's rooms and 
Marion's ways of thought carried me through it as nothing 
else could have done. During those four months I only 
once spoke English — when beautiful Mary Stanley (nee 
Rose) suddenly turned up for a day and wanted to see 
the Villa, a most pleasant Interruption to the rather mur- 
derous continuity of my work. The only way not to think 
was to fill every hour, and to make the nights very short 
— or one might not have slept. So I worked all day 
in the tower room, came down at seven in the evening 
to my solitary dinner, began writing again at nine and 
223 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

wrote till two A. M. ; long, long hours of composition, 
only possible in that perfect silence and seclusion. The 
" Little Grey Sheep " was occupying me till the end of 
January, and then my publishers asked for a shorter 
book to bring out first, and I took a plunge into Japan 
and wrote " Mama's Mutiny " in just five weeks. The 
downstairs study was part of a charming little apartment 
which Marion had arranged for my mother, so that she 
should not have to climb any stairs to her bedroom; his 
thoughtfulness in such ways was one of his most endear- 
ing characteristics. The first time I went to visit him 
after his marriage I had been very lame for a long time, 
and he had actually had the three steps leading up to the 
front door built over into a gentle slope so that I could 
walk up them without trouble! My mother was there 
at the same time, so, in order that I too might have a 
bedroom on the ground floor, he had given up the library 
and turned it into a sumptuous sleeping apartment for 
me. One more little thing he thought of, an absurd trifle, 
but it meant so much that he should have remembered it 
through years of separation. " Mimo must have straw- 
berry jam for breakfast! " he had told my sister-in-law. 
Now strawberry jam is an article unknown to Italian 
traders, and has to be brought from England, but there 
it was when my breakfast tray appeared in the morning. 
As one of the old servants exclaimed to me in a moment 
of enthusiasm, " Chisto Signo! Nn'artro como lui no' 
c'e n'e en chisto mundo." (" This gentleman! There is 
not another like him in this world! ") 

The many who loved him will forgive me I know, for 
224 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

lingering over these memories. If Marion entered into 
any one's life at all he became a dominant figure in it 
for ever. Since he left us I have had letters from friends 
of his whose names I had not known before, two of them 
holy and distinguished Priests, who have told me that his 
memory was with them daily and hourly and that they 
counted the hours spent with him as among the most 
precious of their lives. 

Before passing on to other things I must describe some- 
thing I saw from his terrace on the roof — a scene which 
doubtless he had more than once rejoiced in. One night 
I had, as usual, been writing downstairs, unconscious of 
the outside world. My fire and my lamp were burn- 
ing brightly, my table was covered with books and papers, 
and all was familiar and inviting, when, towards two 
o'clock, I discovered that I had left in the tower some 
Important notes without which I could go no farther. 
It required some nerve to go up past all those uninhab- 
ited floors and then climb the dark, winding staircase in 
the dead of night. Luigi had gone home to his own 
house. Giovanni the cook slept far below in the ser- 
vants' quarters hewn out of the face of the cliff, and 
there was no question of sending for what I wanted. 
There was nothing for it but to go myself. The dead 
emptiness and darkness of the great house got on my 
nerves long before I reached the entrance to the tower 
staircase on the third floor. My one candle cast very 
black shadows, and I was not at all sure that I was 
alone — the place was full of ghostly whisperings. The 
tower stair was a close spiral where one could see only 
225 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

two or three steps at a time and never had it seemed 
so long or so dark as that night. But as I turned the 
last spiral and came out on the top landing, I was met 
by a burst of glory that made me stagger back against 
the wall as if I had been struck. 

An enormous full moon hung right overhead in a sky 
whipped white by a furious gale. From where I stood, 
to the far horizon, the sea was one sheet of mad, froth- 
ing, tossing silver, of such intolerable brightness that it 
made the eyes ache to look at it; and that whole seeth- 
ing radiance was flinging itself against the cliffs in a 
thunder of assault that sent the spray flying up to the 
level of the house. How long I stood there, clinging 
to the parapet, I never knew. I had " surprised the ele- 
ments at play," and the thrill of that hour can never be 
forgotten. 

In my two real homes, Japan and South Italy, beauty 
lives. It is not merely an exquisite scene that you behold, 
it is sight and revelation at the same time. Nature 
speaks some word at certain moments — it is for you 
alone, you cannot translate it any more than you can put 
a chord into speech; but it is clear, imperative, divine. 
Once, in Japan, after a period of great stress and pre- 
occupation, I had been sitting up all night to finish a cer- 
tain task. I was worn out; the coming day was pro- 
grammed into a perfect chess-board of engagements, 
public and private; and for a minute I felt as if sudden 
death would be a happy release from the unbearable re- 
sponsibilities of life. The dawn made its way into the 
room — I opened a window and looked out. Already 
226 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

the world was white with morning and moist with dew. 
Just under my window, reaching up to show me its face, 
one great white lily had opened in the night; the sun 
had never seen it yet; its whiteness was the blue white- 
ness of snow in the shade; but from the immaculate 
heart of it the golden arrow heads had burst their bonds 
and trembled with their load of pregnant balm, whose 
perfume flooded up and kissed my eyes to just the few 
happy tears needed to wash away fatigue and despond- 
ency, and leave sight clear, courage high, to meet the 
coming hours. 

That was Japan, the impersonal; one flower, one 
moment, and you are *' freed from the wheel " of self. 

In South Italy, the storied, teeming spendthrift of 
beauty, impressions come differently. You are not taken 
out of yourself; on the contrary, intelligence and memory 
and imagination are roused at every step. There is a 
story for every landmark; here a saint was born, here a 
martyr died; here, where the reeds sway softly on the 
lake, or there, where the thyme grows thick in the lonely 
dell, the battle cries of nations rose to heaven and all 
the blare of trumpets could not drown the shrieks of the 
dying. " Remember, remember," the wind sings In your 
ear; "tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse!" Is the burden 
of Its song, and It takes faith to add Saint Teresa's 
sequel to the axiom — " Dieu seul ne passe point." 

No, He passeth not away, and one feels that this soil, 
the first to see the light, the oldest of His gardens, is 
specially dear to Him for the sake of the crowding mil- 
lions of His children, saints and sinners, victors and van- 
227 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

quished, seers and slaves, all made in His image, who 
have lived and struggled, and laughed and wept, and now 
sleep safe in Italian earth till the Judgment Day. And 
from their ashes what trophies have not arisen of His 
glory and mercy? What marvels have not been worked 
even in our own days to vindicate that Divine predilec- 
tion? From one spot alone, the ancient charnel- 
house of sinful flesh, has emanated a tide of sublime 
supernatural graces that have brought healing of soul 
and body to countless thousands, not only at the fountain 
head but in the farthest corners of the earth. Who " of 
us " has not heard of that gate of Heaven, the " Sanctu- 
ary of Pompeii," the Throne of Our Lady of the 
Rosary? Very few, indeed; but since so many of those 
who are not " of us," yet not against us, will read this 
book, I must try to tell at least a part of the story — 
which might be called a story of resurrection, but, more 
fitly, I think, a story of renascence, of a garden bloom- 
ing from a grave. 

The predestined human instrument of this transfor- 
mation was a devout poor gentleman of Naples, the 
Avvocato Bartolo Longo, a member of the Third Order of 
St. Dominic. Broken in health and with very straitened 
means, he left the city in the month of October, 1872, and 
went for a few weeks to seek change of air in the " Valle 
di Pompeii," a desolate but quiet bit of country lying at 
the foot of Vesuvius, between the railway station of 
Pompeii, and that of Scafati, a small town seventeen 
miles further on the line towards Nocera dei Pagani and 
Salerno. For many years the district had been the resort 
228 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

of all the thieves and outlaws of the surrounding country 
and bore a very evil reputation. After i860 it was the 
favourite hunting ground of the famous brigand, Pilone, 
and, even after he was killed, the remains of his band of 
braves roamed and robbed so audaciously that only the 
poorest, the contadini who had nothing to lose and for 
whom no one could have paid the smallest ransom, ven- 
tured to dwell there. 

Of these some three thousand were scattered through 
the *' Valle," which at that point widens almost to a 
plain, dividing Vesuvius and its foot-hills from the high, 
rocky range that rises between the Bay of Naples and the 
Gulf of Salerno. The good lawyer was distressed beyond 
measure to find that the larger part of these poor people 
were existing in a state of pitiable ignorance as to the 
very essentials of religion; many of them did not know 
how to make the sign of the cross. For so many souls 
there was but one half-ruined little church barely large 
enough to hold a hundred persons. The Bishop of Nola 
had been mourning over this unhappy portion of his 
diocese, and had for many years tried to raise funds to 
build a suitable church, but, weighed down with the care 
of seven hundred churches, including eighty-five parishes, 
most of which were wretchedly poor, he had never been 
enabled to carry out his desires and had to content him- 
self with commending them to the generosity of Heaven. 

Heaven replied by sending the good Avvocato, who, 

as he says, " after mature reflection, much prayer, and 

counsel sought from wise and holy men," decided that 

the best method of Christianising the poor folk of the 

229 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

" Valle," and at the same time obtaining all that they 
needed from the Divine Clemency, was to teach them to 
say the Rosary, that epitome of the life of Christ, the 
weapon which, since the days of St. Dominic has won so 
many victories for Christian arms by land and sea, and has 
saved countless millions from sin and degradation and 
despair. So the Avvocato spent his hardly earned holi- 
day every autumn in going round among the contadini? 
and instructing them in the truths of Religion; every 
evening, when their day's work was over, he gathered 
together as many as possible, and the Rosary was said, 
at first in the dilapidated chapel, and then, as the con- 
gregation outgrew that narrow space, in the house of the 
Contessa de Fusco, a noble and pious lady of Naples 
who owned a small villa in the vicinity. A small print 
of Our Lady of the Rosary, surrounded by the fifteen 
Mysteries, which the Avvocato carried about with him 
and had hung over his bed, was the only object of 
devotion round which the poor people could gather. I 
wonder where it is to-day? One would give much to 
possess that precious little foundation stone of the world- 
renowned, world-loved basilica which draws one hundred 
thousand pilgrims every year from every quarter of the 
globe ! 

In 1875, with the help and encouragement of the 
Bishop, a Mission was held in the " Valle," and the good 
Priests who conducted it had the joy of seeing the inhab- 
itants crowd to hear, to learn, to pray. The rain of 
miraculous graces in store for the spot began by the 
heartiness and sincerity of the conversions. Enemies 
230 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

were reconciled, hardened sinners repented, parents 
brought their children to be baptised; very few had not 
approached the sacraments before the Mission closed. 
Then the " Confraternity of the Rosary " was established, 
each member promising to be faithful in reciting 
the prayers, and, those who could, subscribing one 
soldo (a halfpenny) a month towards the erection of a 
church. 

The founder of the work at first dreamed of nothing 
more than a chapel with an Altar dedicated to Our Lady of 
the Rosary; but the Bishop insisted that what was needed 
— and would therefore be possible — was the building 
of a real church, such as he had for so many years de- 
sired to see in the Valle. His ardent faith and the justice 
of his reasoning convinced his hearers, and with many 
prayers, the work of raising the funds began, in January, 
1876, by the aforesaid high subscription of one cent a 
month, Don Bartolo Longo and the Contessa de Fusco 
undertaking the arduous task of collecting. 

As the good Avvocato (afterwards " Commendatore ") 
says in his account, " both Heaven and earth took the 
matter in hand." On the 30th of April of the same year 
the site was bought and paid for; the foundation stone was 
laid on the 8th of May, in the presence of an enormous 
gathering including three hundred Neapolitan gentlemen 
and ladles, many of whom came to thank Our Lady for ex- 
traordinary graces received through her intercession. On 
the 29th of October, 1876, the foundations were finished, 
and on the 13th of October, 1878, the building was com- 
pleted up to the cornice — a building capable of containing; 
231 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

two thousand persons. Considering the poverty of the dio- 
cese and the thoroughness with which every detail was 
treated, the accomplishment of that much in so short a 
time was surprising. 

At this point Mass was celebrated in the still 
roofless church, filled to overflowing with worshippers 
from Naples and all the surrounding country. Kneel- 
ing on the unfinished floor, princes and princesses 
shoulder to shoulder with the poorest labourers, the 
devout assembly recited the Rosary in common and great 
numbers received Holy Communion at the foot of the 
poor little altar which had served for the first prayer 
gatherings of the scattered contadini. But above the 
altar was the picture — now reproduced by the million, 
throned in thousands of churches and venerated in almost 
every Catholic home — the picture of Our Lady of the 
Rosary with the Divine Infant on her knee and the 
Rosary's two first Saints, St. Dominic and St. Catherine 
of Siena, kneeling at her feet. 

The story of that picture is a very strange one. Before 
the inauguration of the Confraternity of the Rosary of 
Our Lady of Pompeii (to give the Association its full 
name) Signor Longo, who still maintained among the 
people of the " Valle " the custom of reciting the chaplet 
in common every evening, thought it was time to find an 
oil painting to replace the tiny print which till then had 
been the only centre of devotion upon which to focus the 
poor people's eyes and attention. It was Impossible to 
buy or order a suitable painting — there would have 
been no money to pay for it. So he began to search round 
232 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

In Naples, in junk shops as well as among his acquaint- 
ances, for something that could be made to serve his 
purpose. 

At last his own director, a venerable Father of the 
Order of the Preachers, offered him, with many apol- 
ogies, an old daub which he had bought many years before 
for three francs and forty centimes (sixty-eight cents) 
and which was reposing in the dust behind a door. Signor 
Longo accepted the discarded thing with humble gratitude 
and undertook to transport it to Pompeii. But, to his 
disappointment, he was not allowed to put it into a 
railway carriage and finally, in despair, had to confide it to 
a *' carrettiere " who made his living by carting litter from 
the stables of the city to the maize fields of the Valle. 
Horribly It went against the devout lawyer's heart to 
permit the sacred picture to travel in company with such a 
load, but, since the Blessed Virgin refused to provide any 
better vehicle for her portrait, there was no other way. 
Carefully tied up in a sheet, the old canvas was hoisted 
on the cart — and In this triumphant manner did the 
" prodlgiosa immaglne " reach Pompeii ! 

Signor Longo was there to receive it, but his heart 
sank when he undid the wrappings and looked at it at- 
tentively. As he says, himself, it was " really horrid to 
behold." But there was an artist who was working just 
then in Pompeii, by name Galella, and he gladly undertook 
to restore the painting as far as he could. When this was 
done, Signor Longo placed It over the Altar of the 
tumble-down chapel which was still the only church the 
district possessed, and, to use his own words, " from that 
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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

day begins the history of the prodigies worked by the 
Almighty to rekindle the faith of Christians and fire 
them with zeal for the edification of the new Temple of 
the Rosary at Pompeii." 

The work went forward rapidly and successfully; In 
a very few years the church was ready for all practical 
uses, one by one the chapels were finished, and enriched 
with beautiful altar pieces painted by distinguished 
artists. The great golden cupola rose in the sunny air, 
a beacon for many a long mile around, and, when I had 
the happiness of seeing it, the fagade was almost com- 
pleted. But long before that, almost as soon as the roof 
was on, offerings came pouring in especially designed for 
the throne above the high altar, which supports the 
— to many of us — most beautiful picture in the world, 
the old picture bought for sixty-eight cents and conveyed 
to Pompeii on a load of stable refuse ! No sooner had 
Signor Longo signified his desire to atone to Our Lady 
for this humiliation by building a worthy shrine for her 
likeness, than the tide of gifts began to flow in, amounting 
in the course of two years to one hundred and sixty 
thousand francs. More followed, and the " Trono," as 
it stands, cost over two hundred thousand francs. The 
gleaming, delicately chiselled marbles came from Lourdes, 
Our Lady's Pyrenean home, where, thirty-seven years 
earlier, she had appeared to Bernadette and touched the 
rock to pour out the Inexhaustible fountains of healing 
for the souls and bodies of men. Beneath the throne, 
enclosed in a great silver heart, are one hundred and 
sixty thousand names, those of the faithful who sent the 
234 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

offerings for it; five angels in bronze form the guard of 
honour, just within the chancel railings, life-sized statues, 
all different, one more lovely than the other in the ex- 
pression of love for God and tender pity and encourage- 
ment for man. 

The picture itself is a centre of light. Its artistic merits 
or demerits count for nothing in the impression it makes. 
Simple in line and composition as any pre-raphaelite 
work, what is presented to the eye seems quite subordinate 
to that which it says to the heart. The Blessed Mother 
sits on a raised seat of which only the rounded pedestal 
is visible, the Divine Infant on her knee turns to the 
right in the act of dropping a rosary into the hand of 
St. Dominic, who kneels below, eagerly reaching up to 
receive it. There is a charming baby grace and " aban- 
don " in the pose, as the Child reaches across the enfold- 
ing mother-arm and holds the long chain of beads high 
above the head of the praying Saint on whom he smiles 
joyfully. The Blessed Mother's head is turned from them 
to St. Catherine who kneels on her left side. With 
ineffable tenderness she reaches down to place the rosary 
in the outstretched hand, while St. Catherine draws back 
as in awe of the face on which her gaze is rapturously 
fixed. It is the gift of Mother to daughter; of her who 
suffered and triumphed, to one of her children who must 
still suffer unspeakably ere the final victory is won. The 
Italians call this miraculous picture " the Madonna with 
the tender eyes," and indeed no words can describe the 
celestial love and mercy of that downward glance, fol- 
lowing the movement of the giving hand, so pure, yet 
235 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

strong, that it reminds one irresistibly of Ratisbon's cry 
after his vision of the Blessed Virgin in Sant' Andrea 
delle Fratte in Rome: "Oh, les mains de la Sainte 
Vierge ! II f aut les avoir vues pour la comprendre ! Ses 
mains rayonnent les graces ! " 

On the day when, the High Altar being completed and 
consecrated, the picture was removed from the ruined 
chapel to be installed in its place of honour, the pro- 
cession paused in the Piazza of " New Pompeii," the 
thriving little township which grew up with the building 
of the church, and the Grand Penitentiary, Cardinal 
Monaco della Valletta, crowned it with a magnificent 
diadem composed of seven hundred diamonds of purest 
water, each diamond a thank-offering, for some miracu- 
lous grace received. Four emeralds were set among 
the diamonds — and these were presented by two 
Jews. 

Later, another, and, to my mind, a more beautiful crown 
was added, a ring of twelve great diamond stars, glorious 
as those which St. John counted in the Mother's crown 
when God showed her glory to him in Patmos. These 
hang, as it were, in a wide circle behind her, a wheel of 
light — yet, in looking at the picture. Her face and that of 
the Child seem to hold more light still. No gems can 
make that radiance pale. The devout artistic feeling 
which has governed the whole work at Pompeii has placed 
the first crown of diamonds so far above Our Lady's 
head that it floats free of the halo, marked by a single 
star, that surrounds the meek brow and soft, uncovered 
hair. Now, every detail of the crimson robe and blue 
236 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

mantle is outlined and fretted with diamonds, and it is in 
diamonds that the inscription " Ave Maria " has been 
written on the pedestal. 

I can see the scoffing smile with which the protestant 
and the materialist, the agnostic and the atheist will read 
this description. I can hear the Judas growl, " Why was 
this not sold and given to the poor?" Wait, dear be- 
nighted ones, read to the end and then sneer — if you 
dare. 

Meanwhile let me go on with my story. To make it 
as short as possible I will say that in less than nineteen 
years from the inception of the work more than two and 
a half million persons became members of the " Spiritual 
Confraternity of the Rosary," which now encircles the 
world by latitude and longitude in one uninterrupted chain 
of prayer, rising through every moment of the night and 
day to Heaven. The gifts and subscriptions have never 
ceased to pour in, and the votive offerings have long out- 
grown the capacity of the great church and fill room after 
room of the adjacent building. Some are magnificent, 
some touchingly humble ; all have the same value in God's 
eyes, since each, like every diamond in Mary's crowns, 
is a thank-offering for some special grace received in 
answer to faithful prayer. The poor peasant who brings 
his daub of a picture by the town sign-painter, represent- 
ing his deliverance from falling rock or maddened bull, 
the aforetime cripple who strides in and hangs his worn 
crutches on the wall, the mother whose child fell over 
some precipice unhurt — they look with glowing pride at 
the priceless gems which show that the rich too have 
237 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

found grace with their Blessed Madonna ; and the million- 
aire bows his head before the tiny tributes of the poor, 
infinitely precious because they gave " what they could " 
out of the fullness of grateful hearts. 

But the material riches of the " Santuarlo " pale in 
comparison with the splendours of charity which have 
grown up around it, vitalised, nourished, perpetuated 
by its invisible fires of love and pity. All these undertak- 
ings were organised and carried out by two lay persons, 
Signor Longo and the Contessa de Fusco, his faithful 
collaborator, who, after the first few years of their joint 
labours, became his wife — chiefly, it is said, to avoid 
the slightest appearance of scandal in the constant com- 
panionship necessary in such work. On them our Holy 
Father, Leo XIII, bestowed words of blessing and com- 
mendation which have rarely fallen to the lot of private 
secular individuals. 

It was on the occasion of the Pope's jubilee, when 
Catholic Christendom was outdoing itself in tributes 
of love and loyalty to the Vicar of Christ, that 
Signor Longo and his spouse made a gift to the Holy 
See, of the " Santuario " and its treasures, of the build- 
ings and the land, the schools and the asylums and the 
workshops — all that makes up the " Nuova Pompeii," 
the holy city which has sprung from the ruins and ashes 
of the old. Whereupon the Holy Father, separating its 
jurisdiction from the diocese of Nola, took it as his own 
especial parochial charge, naming the then Dean of the 
College of Cardinals as his vicar there. At the same time 
he appointed Signor Longo and his wife sole administra- 
238 



I 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

tors of all the revenues and works during their lifetime, 
since, as he declares in the Apostolic Brief of March 
13, 1894, " they have for many years laboured so well for 
the glory of God and His Mother as to merit the com- 
plete trust of the entire Catholic world." 

A little later the Holy Father added to the wealth of 
privileges, and honours already bestowed on the " Santu- 
ario " the crowning one of naming it the Parish Church of 
the world. Every Catholic is bound, if by any means he 
can, to make his Easter Communion in his own Parish 
Church; but by this enactment it has been made lawful, 
for all who so desire, to travel to Pompeii and perform 
their Easter duties there. 

The love of God cannot exist without showing itself 
in love for His children. As I said before, the growing 
basilica, like a generous plant, threw out shoots on either 
side as it rose. The first of these was an orphan asylum 
for little girls, homeless children gathered from every part 
of Italy. The first number taken in happened to be one hun- 
dred and thirty-five; these were divided into nine bands of 
fifteen, who, from dawn to dark succeed each other in the 
repetition of the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, and all 
these prayers are offered for the benefactors. Who would 
not wish to earn a share in them? I believe the number 
of orphans now is about three hundred, and these children 
are admirably taught and cared for till they can safely 
earn their living by some one of the many trades learnt 
in the Home. All the teachers, nurses, and attendants of 
the girls' Home are volunteers — women who, without 
any religious vows, and without pay, dedicate their lives 
239 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

to this noble work. They are called " The Daughters 
of the Rosary." 

That which is done for boys is still more beau- 
tiful, for among all the public and private charities 
of Italy (and of the world, as far as I know) it stands 
alone in providing for and sheltering exclusively the sons 
of convicts who are working out their sentences in prison. 
These forsaken children, thrown on the world with the 
unmerited stigma of disgrace and crime, had long ap- 
pealed to Signor Longo's heart, and at the first possible 
moment he inaugurated a home for great numbers of 
them under the protection of the All-Mother who reigns 
supreme at the New Pompeii. 

There is such exquisite delicacy in true charity! The 
first thought in the founder's mind was to save for God 
these poor little derelicts, overlooked waifs, robbed of 
their bread-winner and in most cases finding the path of 
crime the only one open for their first steps in life. But 
with that thought came another — it was impossible to 
place these boys in ordinary institutions, for two reasons 
— reputable parents would not allow their children to 
consort with the sons of criminals, and the natural hard- 
heartedness of childhood would constantly cause their 
misfortune to be thrown in their faces. They consti- 
tuted a class by themselves and they must be reared and 
educated apart, in surroundings where no one could 
taunt another with his father's disgrace, where hope and 
brightness only reigned, where every boy could imbibe 
the self-respect which is the foundation of all honest liv- 
ing. And the beautiful dream came true; hundreds have 
240 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

been brought up in that pure and happy atmosphere, 
learning to pray for their fathers, learning profitable 
trades, equipped at every point to become useful citizens 
and bring up their own children in the love and fear of 
God. 

Such an undertaking bore success on its very face. How 
it has succeeded let the output of New Pompeii, in litera- 
ture alone, testify. The printing press, the engraving 
rooms, the photographic and artistic studios send out good 
books and pictures and periodicals by countless thousands 
in more languages than I can remember, carrying the tide 
of pure, uplifting interest and piety to Europe and 
America, Asia, Africa, Australia — to the very ends of 
the earth. The charming little periodical " The Rosary 
and New Pompeii " had no subscription price; to any one 
who asked for it or who sent an offering, however small, 
either for the Church or the schools, it was (I believe 
still is) mailed faithfully year after year without pay- 
ment, and, dear readers, it affords most illuminating 
reading! 

Side by side with these elevated industries are ateliers of 
book-binding, tailoring, shoe-making, carpentering, stucco 
work for house decorating, carving, and, if I remember 
rightly, stone-cutting. Each boy's taste and capacity is 
duly taken account of, and, whatever he goes into, he is 
" helped to the best of himself." The higher branches 
of learning are open to those who can embrace them, and 
I think the proudest, if not the happiest, day of Signor 
Longo's life was the one on which, under the direction of 
the illustrious astronomer, the late Padre Denza, he 
241 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

opened the splendid " Osservatorio Meteorologico-Vol- 
canico," where the complicated earthquake phenomena 
and the science of meteorology can be studied to perfec- 
tion. Oh, the New Pompeii is all for science and progress 
of the real kind! In its solid new buildings and growing 
streets one feels the master touch of valiant good sense, 
and the floods of electric light (no other is used in the 
town) are symbolical not only of the thoroughness and 
conscientiousness which invite inspection everywhere, but 
of the spiritual light which, from the blessed Sanctuary, 
its heart, has brought joy and healing, and new birth of 
the soul to thousands of homes. 

How has it all been done? Through faithful, unwaver- 
ing prayer, and that the prayer of prayers — the Rosary, 
and the Blessed Virgin's never-failing response to peti- 
tions thus offered. For every gift sent — and Signor 
Longo tells us that the millions of francs have come 
almost entirely in very small sums and often anonymously 
■ — a grace, temporal or spiritual, has been granted. The 
devotion of the " Fifteen Saturdays " repeatedly explained 
and enjoined by Our Lady Herself when appearing to 
one or another of Her faithful children, has worked so 
many miracles, all witnessed and attested by great num- 
bers of people, that we have come to regard it as an 
infallible means of obtaining everything that is good for 
us, and a weapon, powerful as the Archangel Michael's 
sword, for putting the powers of darkness to flight. 

The Rosary has been made such a stumbling-block to 
non-Catholics by ignorance and heresy that it seems allow- 
able and advisable to explain what we mean by it. They 
242 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

see the beads constantly in our hands and accuse us of 
counting simply upon the repetition of so many Aves 
and Paters, without reflection or mental prayer of any 
kind, to buy just so much grace for ourselves or others. 
Nothing could be further from the mind of the Church. 
The chaplet of fifty small beads and five large ones con- 
stitutes the third part of the whole " Rosary " of fifteen 
" Mysteries," that is to say, the fifteen most salient events 
in the life of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, from 
the Annunciation to the Descent of the Holy Ghost and 
the death and Assumption into Heaven of the Blessed 
Virgin. The five " Joyful Mysteries " tell the story of the 
Birth and Childhood of the Redeemer; the " Sorrowful " 
ones that of His Passion and Death; the "Glorious" 
recount His Triumphant Resurrection and Ascension, 
the opening of the Reign of the Holy Spirit on earth, 
and the close of the mortal life of Her, who remained 
behind, with us, to nurse the Infant Church as she had 
nursed the Infant Christ, and to impart to the " Beloved 
Physician " those ineffable details which she alone knew, 
which she had kept in her heart, and which make St. 
Luke's Gospel the Gospel of Mary. To recite the whole 
Rosary is to review the essence of New Testament his- 
tory. As we say the Pater and Aves set for each mystery 
we medidate on it, and the prayers are directed towards 
the especial Virtue it inculcates; the sentiments of faith 
and hope and love and contrition are fed and strength- 
ened — and never yet did the soul fall back disappointed 
and repulsed after devoutly reciting the Rosary. 

Our Holy Father, Leo XIII, was unfailingly persistent 
243 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

in conjuring Catholics to be faithful to this devotion. 
He called it (I quote from memory only) the chief wea- 
pon for the defence of Christendom in these fearfully 
ungodly times, and recommended (so strongly that it 
almost amounts to a command) the recital of the Rosary in 
common in every Christian home. 

For the very poor (and therefore uninstructed) who 
have had no opportunity to learn the Mysteries, the devout 
recital of the prayers is enough; but though it has been 
my lot to know and mingle much with this class in different 
countries, I have not yet met a Latin Catholic who was 
Ignorant of the New Testament story that the beads con- 
vey. And now by the direct Intervention of Our Lady, 
a new and powerful impetus has been imparted to the 
devotion of the " Fifteen Saturdays." 

This consists in going to Confession and Communion, 
reciting the Rosary, in meditating earnestly on one Mys- 
tery, every Saturday for fifteen weeks, and striving, during 
each week, to practice the virtue it inculcates. It Is not 
a hard or wearisome devotion; the busiest people have 
found It easy to carry out either with others or alone; it 
has saved whole cities from the cholera when that scourge 
was raging through Italy; It has — but let me tell just 
one of the miracles of healing that this heaven-sent prayer 
has obtained for man. They are counted by many thous- 
and now, but this one is typical, a very triumph of grace, 
since it not only restored the dying body to health, but — 
that which all theologians admit is a far greater miracle 
— recalled to life an impenitent soul steeped in mortal 
sin. 

244 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

On the I St of January, 1890, in the Church of the 
Holy Rosary at Lecce, a Priest, who for thirty years had 
abandoned his calling and denied his God, said Mass 
once more, in the presence of an immense concourse of 
his townsfolk. His name was Pasquale Bortone, and 
his apostasy, and the frightfully scandalous life which 
resulted from it, had long been a subject of profound 
grief to his family and to the whole community as well. 
Worn out with evil living — he had thrown himself into 
every kind of dissipation in the vain attempt to stifle the 
remorse and despair which pursued him — he fell a vic- 
tim to a complication of diseases which brought him to 
the verge of the grave ; his lower limbs were completely 
paralysed, — and the rest of his body so shaken by palsy 
that in July, 1889, he could not sign his name to the 
certificate for a pension to which he was entitled, and his 
brother, Giuseppe Bortone, had to sign it for him in the 
presence of a notary public. 

Agonised by intestinal suffering, unable to sleep or to 
assimilate food, helpless, despairing in heart, the poor 
sinner's mind became affected, and twice he attempted to 
commit suicide. During the long months of illness he had 
more than once expressed the desire to confess his sins 
and be reconciled with God. The relations who had taken 
him into their house and nursed him tenderly, eagerly 
welcomed this return to grace, but when they tried to 
induce him to see a priest he obstinately refused and broke 
out in such storms of anger that the attempt had to be 
abandoned. He was a Freemason and too terrified of 
his late Satanic associates to defy them thus openly. Many 
245 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

prayers were offered for him that he might obtain mercy 
and die a good death, and he himself, through all 
his criminal life had, he could hardly explain why, con- 
tinued to say every day some little prayer to the Blessed 
Virgin. He admits that he had "no faith"; it was a 
habit of childhood that had clung to him, that was 
all. 

He was so evidently near to his end, and his sufferings 
had augmented so terribly, that on November 29th, when 
Catholics everywhere were beginning the novena in prep- 
aration for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the 
cousins who had sheltered him found courage to propose 
that he should join with them in making the novena, so as 
to obtain (it was thus they put it to him) a lessening of 
pain and the blessing of a little sleep. The skk man con- 
sented and began, with them, the novena to Our Lady 
of Pompeii as it is practised in the church there. 

On the night of the third day of the novena, Don 
Pasquale Bortone slept — and dreamt. In his dream the 
Blessed Virgin appeared to him, precisely as she is de- 
picted at Pompeii, and said, " Confess, and be reconciled 
with God, for you are still in time ! " He awoke a good 
deal Impressed, but soon told himself that it was merely 
a dream, and put the incident from his mind. The next 
night, however, it was repeated; this time Our Lady 
condescended to entreat the sick man, to command and 
beseech at once, that he would save his soul. " Make 
haste 1 " she said, " call the Confessor, confess your sins 
and you shall be victorious. On the day of my Feast you 
are to go to Communion." 

246 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

He arose a changed man. Our Lady had promised him 
the victory over pride and shame, had obtained for him 
the grace of perfect contrition and the courage to make 
the public retraction required for a Priest who has given 
public scandal. She had called to life a soul dead, since 
thirty years, in mortal sin. And in the same instant She 
had healed his body of all its ills. He arose from his 
bed, perfectly well and sound in every way. Waiting 
eagerly for the first ray of dawn, as soon as it appeared 
he sent for the Parish Priest, narrated the experiences 
of that wonderful night, and in his presence wrote, 
with a free, firm hand, the following letter to the 
Bishop : 

" I, the undersigned, Priest Pasquale Bortone, taken (preso) by 
the Grace of God and by the protection of Our Blessed Lady of 
Pompeii, retract all that I may have said and done against the 
Church and against the obligations of my calling. I pray God 
and the Blessed Virgin to help me always, so that by a good life 
I may atone for the scandal I have caused and die in the bosom 
of the Catholic Church. 

" Pasquale Bortone, Priest." 

Lecce, Dec. 3, 1889. 

That night the penitent slept calmly and peacefully 
for the first time since his falling away. A day or 
two later he wrote the story of his conversion and 
his healing, for a paper published in Lecce, and sent copies 
of it to every place where he had given scandal during 
his long years of apostasy and vice. 

The Bishop of Lecce, a wise and saintly man, examined 
his penitent carefully, and, convinced of the sincerity of 
247 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

his conversion, advised him, after the first necessary steps 
had been taken, to make a retreat of a few days in order 
to carry out certain spiritual exercises. Then, like the 
tender father of Scripture, he reinstated the prodigal 
son in all his sacred honours, and on the ist of January, 
1890, Pasquale Bortone, before an immense concourse of 
people, celebrated Mass in the Church of the Holy 
Rosary in Lecce. 

It was too much for the repentant sinner to bear with- 
out making some return. Overwhelmed with contrition 
and thankfulness, he asked the Bishop's permission to 
confess his sins in the public square and implore the pardon 
of his fellow-townsfolk for the scandal he had caused. 
The prudent Bishop, though fully approving his senti- 
ments, forbade the place he had fixed upon, as likely to 
give scandal In its turn, but gave him leave to carry out 
his wish inside the church. There, on the 3rd of Janu- 
ary, Don Pasquale, after saying Mass, told the congrega- 
tion the story of the miraculous resurrection of his soul 
through the intervention of Our Blessed Lady. As for 
that of his body, those present could judge of it for 
themselves, for his desperate state until a few days 
earlier had been known to all, and now they saw him 
strong and well, without a trace of illness or emaciation. 
With bitter tears he confessed his errors and begged for- 
giveness for the horrible scandal he had caused, and he 
did not weep alone, for there was not a dry eye in the 
church. 

When all was accomplished he withdrew, and retired 
to the Seminary of Lecce, there to atone by an exemplary 
248 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

life of prayer and true penitence for his thirty miserable 
years of rebellion.^ 

Let me tell one story, a very short one, which shows that 
Our Blessed Lady interests herself not only in the sinful 
and suffering but in the pure young hearts that appeal to her 
for help. A friend of mine in Sorrento, a good and 
gifted young fellow, fell desperately in love with an 
equally good and charming girl. She returned his affec- 
tion, but every possible obstacle lay in the way of their 
union. They had no money, the parents refused their 
consent, the relations had other views for them (and in 
Italy people have to count with their relations !), and, but 
for great constancy, and great faith in Heaven's good- 
ness, they would have given up all hope of becoming 
husband and wife. 

Suddenly the obstacles disappeared. The financial 
question was unexpectedly smoothed out, and the family, 
instead of opposing, now heartily endorsed the engage- 
ment. A few weeks later the young people were married 
amid much rejoicing and many congratulations all round. 

The feast was over and the party about to disperse 
when the shy little bride drew the bridegroom away from 
the rest and, with many blushing hesitations, managed 
to say, " Dearest, I — have something to confess to 
you — " 

To her surprise, her lover with equal timidity, replied, 

^ This account is abbreviated from that in Commendatore Longo's book 
"The Fifteen Saturdays," where further details of this and many other 
wonderful miracles can be found, all attested by sworn testimony of physi- 
cians and witnesses of the highest respectability. The book contains most 
beautiful and helpful meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary. There is 
a good English translation which should be known to all devout Catholics. 
249 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

" It is I who have something to confess to you! I made 
a vow — " 

" / made a vow ! " she interrupted. 

"To go — to — " 

" Communion — " 

" At Pompeii — in the Church of Our Lady of the 
Rosary — " 

" The day after our marriage — " 

" Yes, yes, so did I, if She would help us to get 
married." 

The colloquy had become triumphant now, and the at- 
tention of the others was attracted to the bridal pair. 
At once the bridegroom told the gathering of what had 
occurred. Secretly each had made the same promise, and 
how joyfully they were prepared to fulfil it! South Italy 
is the land of Faith. All the assembled relations an- 
nounced their intention of accompanying the young 
people, and the next morning at the " screech of dawn " 
they all set out in a string of " carrozelle " to accom- 
plish the pious pilgrimage. 

My own first visit to the " Santuario " was paid in 
October, the Rosary month. I was alone at Villa Craw- 
ford when, one evening, quite without warning, there de- 
scended upon me from Rome a big boy and a little one, 
dusty and hungry — and quite sure of their welcome, for 
the big boy was a godson of mine and a very good lad, 
taking the place of the dead father to his pale, rickety 
little brother, who, by some irony of fate, had been 
christened " Achilles." The elder one was named for my 
husband, " Ugo," and somehow or other had managed to 
250 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

get a remarkably good education, although the family 
was poor in the extreme. I had not heard from Ugo for 
some little time, and he now informed me that he had been 
at the point of death, with double pneumonia; that he 
had made a vow, if Heaven granted him to recover, to 
go to Confession and Communion at Pompeii — bare- 
foot! Would I please see about it and take him there the 
next day? 

"How about that little man?" I asked, pointing to 
Achilles, who had fallen asleep over his supper in a high 
chair. 

" Perhaps Don Bonlfazio will be kind enough to take 
care of him?" this with a radiant smile at the butler, 
who was evidently taking much interest in Ugo's pious 
plans. The good man had been waiting on my travel- 
stained wayfarers with every deference, and now gave 
us the benefit of his advice about the excursion to Pom- 
peii. Certainly he would look after the little boy — 
had he not four " Guaglion " of his own, down In 
Calabria? 

So, early the next morning we set forth, Ugo and 
I, and the fast little horses raced us over the well-known 
road, through the cliff towns where the fruit and vege- 
tables were piled round the market square like heaps of 
gold and gems in the morning sun. Toss down a barrow- 
ful of yellow pumpkins beside great baskets of purple 
grapes and scarlet tomatoes and pale, crisp lettuce, tubs 
of green and yellow plums, and carmine-streaked 
pomegranates, split and spilling their translucent ruby 
seeds; throw in posies of bursting carnations and rose- 
251 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

geranium; sprinkle it all with fresh water from the old 
fountain out there in the centre of the Piazza, and then 
catch the first low rays of the sun on the fragrant, dewy, 
tumbled sweetness — and thank God that there is such 
a spot on earth as the Piano di Sorrento ! 

We left it all behind and reached the sun-baked flats 
of Pompeii just as a long file of Abruzzi women were 
approaching the steps of the church. Many miles they 
had tramped — some had been walking for days — to 
realise the dream of their lives, a visit to the " Santuario." 
Their severe costumes and grave faces struck an asceti- 
cally solemn note in the bright morning light, with the 
rather florid fagade of the church as a background. The 
peasant dress of the Abruzzi fastnesses has, I fancy, 
changed very little during the last thousand years. Heavy 
black cloth, spun and woven at home from the wool of 
their own sheep, is used for a skirt of extreme fulness, 
gathered, as close as linen thread and strong fingers can 
gather the stiff material, to the waist; a low, square 
bodice with wide shoulder straps displays the snowy 
linen " camicia " trimmed with heavy lace — lace and 
linen all hand-made, in the little stone houses clinging 
to the castle-crowned rock whence long-dead feudal 
masters ruled and defended their people. To this day 
the women of " Ciocciaria " never buy an article that 
can be made at home. For footgear they wear the classic 
sandal, on their heads the fringed and laced linen towel 
doubled back and falling low enough to be a thorough 
protection against the sun. The only note of colour 
in the costume is supplied by a string or two of coral 
252 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

round the neck and some narrow bands of red and yel- 
low at the edge of the black skirt. 

There must have been sixty or seventy women In the 
procession, and we watched them file Into the church 
before turning aside ourselves to the auxiliary building, 
to Inquire as to the hearing of confessions. These are 
so numerous that the Fathers who serve the " Santuario " 
have set aside special apartments, solemn and Impressive 
enough, where they relieve each other from dawn to 
dark in the confessionals. When people have travelled 
on foot from the other end of Italy, or have crossed 
the world, to go to Communion at Pompeii, the good 
Fathers are not going to keep them waiting! 

Masses were going on in the church and we entered 
just In time for the beginning of one at the High Altar. 
At the door Ugo paused, pulled off his shoes and gravely 
presented them to me to take care of. Somewhat en- 
cumbered with my charge, I was looking round for a 
seat when one of the guardians beckoned to us to follow 
him. Very kindly he led us round to an archway behind 
the high altar and gave us kneeling stools to the left of 
it, inside the chancel. All over the Penisola It Is the 
right of the leading men of the community to have their 
seats there, but the " Santuario " is the only place where 
I have seen this privilege extended to women. I was 
very grateful for it. In that intimate vicinity to the 
Tabernacle and the miraculous picture above It one felt 
so near to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother; her 
benign, lovely face seemed to promise the fulfilment of 
every prayer, and, kneeling close as we did, one noticed 
253 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the dazzling gems and brilliant surroundings not at all. 
They were dimmed and effaced by the overwhelming 
sense of the Presences; one could hear in one's heart, 
far above the magnificent tones of the organ, the Alle- 
luias of invisible, worshipping angels; and the tide of 
prayer and faith, rising up from all those humble, trusting 
souls in the body of the church, swept on like a flood 
that lifted one away from the things of this world 
and flung one, safe and unspeakably happy, right at the 
feet of God. 

When we had made our thanksgiving we lingered in 
the church to examine the different chapels — there are 
seven now, but they were not all completed then — and 
to admire the altar pieces, which though modern in 
thought and execution, are full of beauty and devout 
feehng. The peasants were much interested in them 
and asked me to tell them about the Saints they repre- 
sented — St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, St. Catherine 
of Siena, and others. They had all recognised St. 
Michael the Archangel, for he is the patron Saint of 
the whole Penisola Sorrentina — Monte Sant' Angelo 
Is named for him — and of many inland districts as 
well. 

Another hour we spent In looking over the ex-votos 
In the outer rooms, with a kind Padre who gave us the 
history of some most Interesting ones, and then, after 
buying one or two photographs and souveniers, we bade 
farewell to the Santuario of the Rosary and drove home 
through the mellow October afternoon very silently. I 
at least had gained something which can never be taken 
254 



OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 

away from me. As I write, the photograph I brought 
home all those years ago, stands before me on my table, 
and never yet have I looked at it without gaining hope 
and courage, and the promise of constant help in this 
life and of the fullness of peace in the next. 



255 



XI 

LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

A Trying Journey — A Neapolitan Bridal Party — Wedding Presents and 
Business-like Precautions — Sponsorial Liabilities — Concetta Changes Her 
Mind — '• Over the ClifF! " — A Church under the Sea — Two Venture- 
some Ladies and a Fortunate Catastrophe — The Water Trust and Its 
Guardian — Living Pictures at the Villa — Henry James Pays Us a Visit 
There — A Triumph of Ambition — The Children's Tarantella — Em- 
barrassing Guests — A Goddess of the Hills. 

IN writing of life in and near Sorrento I have taken 
little notice of dates and have perhaps puzzled the 
kind reader by telling of earlier or later events and im- 
pressions just as they recurred to me. An apology would 
be in place — I will ask him to accept a reason instead. 
The truth is that where that country is concerned, time 
never counts for me. Some friendly wind sets south and 
lands me on the warm sea-washed shore; the familiar 
cliffs, with the mysterious Roman stairways up which 
I could find my way blindfold, rise like walls of peace 
and safety; smells of orange-mould, of rosemary and 
oleander, of baked stone and damp well, of wine-vat 
and olive-press, draw me on; by the time I have reached 
the sky terrace and lean over the parapet under the 
dancing, sunshot vine-leaves, the years are no more; the 
past Is embalmed, the future not my affair; I am a 
child, or a disembodied spirit that has found Its home. 
256 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

Indeed, after my dear brother settled there, It was more 
of a home to us all than even my mother's house in Rome. 
Whenever I returned from abroad or rushed down from 
England to see her, we would go on together to the 
Villa or the Cocumella, and only the sternest rulings of 
duty could get us away again. The year that Uncle Sam 
was with us there I had quite an anxious journey down, 
I remember. My mother and the others came later, but 
I went on with my little boys early in June; the eldest 
had been frightfully ill with meningitis and rheumatic 
fever, and it was necessary to get out of town before the 
great heat began. Hugh could not come, but I had the 
children's good little French governess with me and we 
hoped all would go well. And so it would have done — 
but for the cat ! 

During Jack's long illness and convalescence that which 
seemed to do him more good than anything else was the 
visit, repeated with constant kindness, of two little white 
Persian kittens brought over from the Embassy for him 
to play with. They were too small to be separated from 
their mother for any time, so Lady Paget used to send 
them across by her daughter's governess, in a big bag of 
lilac tarlatan, into which they were packed again after 
an hour or so and solemnly carried home. When they 
grew bigger. Gay Paget, whose cherished property they 
were, presented Jack with one of them, and from that 
moment the " Principessa " became an important mem- 
ber of the family, for the boy refused to move without 
her. 

The day of our journey down to Naples was a terribly 
257 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

hot one. I was watching my small invalid very anx- 
iously, for he grew whiter and whiter as the scorching 
hours dragged on, and I had to bathe his head and hands 
with eau-de-Cologne every few minutes to keep him 
from fainting. Suddenly he gave a cry — "The 
Principessa has fainted! Oh, I know she is going to 
die! " I looked into the corner where the little creature 
had been lying, and sure enough, there she was, a limp 
heap, with glazed eyes and the pink in her nose changed 
to dead white. It took us some time to restore her. 
We poured milk and brandy down her throat and 
drenched her with eau-de-Cologne, and finally she came 
to, but it was a close shave. There was the horrible 
Naples station to alight at — less familiar then than in 
after years — with its crowds of porters all fighting 
for a chance to carry even the smallest bit of our traps. 
(Later I knew most of them by name — and how gladly 
would I since have hailed some of them in America's 
odious porterless stations!) We had to catch the late 
afternoon train to Castellammare, the bridal train by 
which every respectable middle-class couple leaves Naples, 
to spend the honeymoon in some one of the little water- 
ing places round the Bay. 

A Neapolitan bridal party — and I never yet saw the 
Naples station without one at that hour of the after- 
noon — is a very funny, very Latin affair. Every member 
of both families feels bound to be present at the send- 
off; the women's frocks are marvellous to behold — 
evidently the result of tremendous thought and all that 
could possibly be achieved in expenditure — and the 
258 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

clothes of the bridegroom and his supporters are still more 
amazing. A Neapolitan dandy must be seen to be appre- 
ciated; lavender trousers, white silk waistcoat, scarlet tie, 
yellow gloves, gardenia or tea-rose in his button-hole — a 
real burst of glory such as northerners are seldom treated 
to. Bride and bridegroom seem to vie in the number of 
relations they can produce on such occasions ; I have some- 
times seen a crowd that nearly filled the big platform, all 
keeping up the " gaiete de commande " as well as they 
could until about ten minutes before the departure of the 
train. Then the kissing begins. Every woman must 
kiss the bride several times on both cheeks; her new 
father and brothers-in-law, if there are any, must do the 
same; and then all the men kiss the bridegroom, also 
on both cheeks, a process which disturbs him not at all, 
since it is the usual greeting amongst near relatives, mas- 
culine as well as feminine. When the last whistle sounds, 
the women are mostly crying, though the men hail the 
signal with undisguised relief. 

I watched one pair alight from the train at Torre 
Anunziata, and the change worked by thirty minutes of 
companionship was rather striking. Towards me they 
came, along the platform, the man stalking ahead, scowl- 
ing furiously. The bride followed, pale, tired, and dis- 
couraged, carrying her cloak and handbag, while the 
bridal bouquet, fading already, had been confided to the 
railway porter who was staggering behind them with the 
rest of their traps. Poor things, I am afraid there had 
been very little romance in their engagement ! 

Romance, indeed, is not considered a particularly 
259 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

necessary element in marriage in South Italy, although 
unions, as a rule, turn out very well. Suitability of age 
and means, good character in the man (among the lower 
classes this is insisted on), pious training and a pleasant 
disposition on the part of the girl, mutual liking — these 
modest qualifications are considered enough to give them 
both a fair chance of happiness to start with, and the 
rest is their own affair. Until the marriage has taken 
place the parents watch jealously over the interests of 
their offspring. When all the consents have been ob- 
tained, the young man and his father bring " the gold " 
to present to the bride-elect. " L'Oro " — it is never 
called anything else — consists of long chains for the 
neck, ear-rings, and a big brooch; all must be of pure 
gold, guaranteed by the local jeweller. 

The ornaments are displayed by the young man's 
father, and if they are not adequate to his fortune and 
position, he is immediately made sensible of the fact by 
the coolness of the bride's parents. As a rule, however, 
a good deal of lavishness is shown, since for the rest of 
his life the bridegroom's general solvency and prosperity 
will be judged by these objects, which his wife will wear 
every time she goes to church or to market. But, since 
everything is uncertain in this world, fitting precautions 
must be taken to have the goods returned to the donors 
should the marriage not take place. So, after the cus- 
tomary cakes and glasses of wine have been partaken 
of, a pair of jeweller's scales is produced and the gold Is 
weighed, the weight scrupulously set down, and a re- 
ceipt for it handed to the bridegroom's father. In one 
260 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

case where the girl was a god-daughter of ours, the 
young man, after his betrothal, decided to go to America. 
Concetta was an only child, and entirely refused to leave 
her parents; so, after much sorrow and heart-burning, 
the marriage was broken off, and the splendid chains 
and ear-rings and the great warming-pan of a brooch had 
to be weighed out once more to certify that no link or 
danglums had been abstracted, and were then restored to 
the not-to-be bridegroom's father. The incident made a 
bad impression. Concetta was accused of being " cap- 
pricciosa " — the worst accusation that can be levelled at 
a young woman in the sober Penisola — and when I 
last saw her was in a fair way to become an old maid, 
in spite of the fact that, for her station in life, she was 
quite a little heiress. 

The relation of sponsor, whether of Baptism or Con- 
firmation, may become a rather embarrassing one in that 
part of the world. It creates a tie as lasting and re- 
sponsible as any blood-relationship, and on every occa- 
sion of any importance the god-parent is expected to 
remember it generously. It not only binds the two chief 
persons in the arrangement, but both their families as 
well. We are all " Commara " and " Compare " to each 
other for all time, and in time things get so mixed up 
that sometimes my sister Daisy and I try in vain to re- 
member which of us was the originator of the liabilities 
in some particular case. Concetta's mother, for instance, 
never gave any of us a chance to escape. Her house 
lay on the road to Massa, the beginning of most of our 
drives. In going out she spied us, and on our return 
261 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

was always waiting in the middle of the road with a big 
bunch of flowers or a basket of cakes, for which who- 
ever was in the carriage had to make a suitable return in 
cash. Besides this she appeared once a week at the house, 
with fruit, or " ricotta," or some such offering, and on 
these occasions one had to give her time as well as money 
or clothes or whatever else she asked for, since every 
event of the little household had to be poured out to 
patient ears and much good advice and encouragement 
administered. It was a bore — but still it gave one the 
" homey " feeling of clanship. These people would do 
anything for us, and in times when social disintegration 
ramps unchecked, it is a comfort to find the old feudal 
sentiment — for it resolves itself into that — not quite 
dead yet ! 

I am afraid that with the introduction of the tram- 
way from Castellammare and the consequent influx of 
strangers in no way rooted to the soil, the Penisola is 
less conservative to-day than it was ten years ago, but it 
will take more than ten years to efface the traditions of 
two thousand, or to essentially weaken the faith im- 
planted by the southern apostles and martyrs and so 
splendidly nourished by St. Benedict's foundations in the 
sixth century, when he made Monte Cassino a centre of 
Christian teaching for all that country. From his day 
to our own, Saints and Doctors have never been wanting 
in South Italy; their complete comprehension of the peo- 
ple's character and needs is testified to by the lovingly 
familiar veneration in which they are held. I think there 
is nothing more charming in literature than St. Alfonso 
262 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

de Liguori's poems In the Neapolitan dialect; one of 
them, a sonnet to the Blessed Virgin, seems to come 
straight from the heart of some errant and repentant 
lad of the Penisola. The coaxing, musical vernacular 
of the dialect defies translation; it is like the confident 
lisping prayer of a naughty child begging to be taken back 
into grace — "Kiss me, and I will never be naughty 
again! " 

The very storms that have assailed the safety of the 
land have only strengthened this intense religiousness, if 
I may coin the word. The enemy. In the earliest ages, 
was the pagan, so feared and detested that he Is not even 
now forgotten. A friend of mine was telling me one 
day how her father, a great orange-grower, discovered 
on his land a sepulchral vault of the Roman times; it 
had never been disturbed and was full of stone sarcophagi 
and cinerary urns. " How delightful ! " I cried, " what 
did he do with those treasures? Can I see them 
some day? " 

My friend looked at me in horror. " See them? No 
Indeed! Papa threw them all over the cliff Into the sea! 
Who would wish to have the bones and coffins of wicked 
pagans on his land? Such things belong to the Devil — 
not to good Christians! " 

After the pagan came the far more terrible Saracen, 
pirate, ravager, murderer, to carry off whole communi- 
ties Into slavery and burn the towns where the old and 
sick, who were not worth taking away, found a death 
infinitely preferable to the existence which lay before the 
unfortunate captives. His raids were so sudden that often 
263 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

but few could reach the Angevin towers of refuge which 
still rise, monuments of his rapacity, all along the coast. 
In the ever-recurring conflict with this Infidel enemy, the 
loathing of all that was not Christian must have been 
greatly intensified, and the sense of the necessity of Divine 
protection constantly strengthened. This, at least, was 
a benefit, and not the only one resulting from great 
calamity, for, tempted by the beauty and richness of the 
land, many a robber elected to settle there, thus infusing 
Into the soft Graeco-Roman stock the hardier qualities 
of his own race. Very distinct are the types to this day 
except in one thing; the descendants of the Barbary 
pirate are quite as devout Christians as any of their now 
fellow-countrymen. 

Although I fancy they rarely ventured as far north as 
our Penisola, many of its inhabitants, and especially the 
sailors, are of this fine type, proud, upstanding men with 
rigid ideas, in spite of a certain childlike simphcity of 
character. They rule their families like autocrats, have 
their own guilds, their own churches. One of these, San 
Giorgio dei Marinai, was cut in the face of the rock, just 
below the town of Sorrento, on the sea level, and the 
constant encroachments of the sea have made it the 
strangest church In the world, for now it can only be 
entered by boat, and one rows, in twenty feet of water, 
up to where one can look down on the high altar, still 
intact, with the fish swimming lazily across the stone steps, 
and tags of seaweed waving mistily on the pavement 
where devout souls used to kneel. There never were 
any windows ; all the light was supplied by the vast open- 
264 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

ing of the rocky, arched doorway, and it shimmers up 
on the hewn walls in a thousand lovely reflections, 
changing every minute with the play of sun and waves 
outside. 

The sea eats hungrily into the Sorrento cliffs. In every 
winter storm the north wind flings it fiercely against them 
and they crumble and slide in bits, so that the face of the 
sea wall has quite changed in many places since I first 
beheld it as a child; entire stairways have been washed 
away (each villa has its own) and new ones have been 
cut, generally on the exterior of the rock instead of being 
tunnelled through it after the old fashion. How much 
the sea has swallowed is curiously indicated by the layer 
of mosaics and bits of marble that one strikes if one 
dives too rashly off the steps of the bathing places; you 
can bring up handfuls of crumbled blue and gold, bits 
of real murrhine glass the colour of the Mediterranean 
after a stormy sunset — fragments of white and pink 
and yellow marble ; all the pounded ruin of some sump- 
tuous Roman villa is there, and through it, in a hundred 
places, little warm springs break up under your feet close 
to the shore, bubbling pleasantly but losing themselves 
almost at once in the great cool wash of the sea. 

My brother's house, standing on a jutting cliff with 
a deep ravine on its eastern side, was in a position none 
too safe during the first few years of his habitation there. 
The owner of the land which joined his, along the ravine, 
had a stone-quarry which, in spite of repeated warnings, 
he worked with persistent recklessness till rift after rift 
appeared in the whole mass of rock, and, In the opinion 
265 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

of the neighbours, a terrible landslide, Involving Villa 
Crawford Itself, was Inevitable, sooner or later. A depu- 
tation came to warn the owners of their danger, but my 
brother and his wife were away, having left the children 
in charge of their grandmother, Mrs. Berdan, and a young 
cousin of Bessie's, Fanny Lay, who had been spending 
the summer there. Mrs. Berdan at once sent the four 
children and their attendants up to Sant' Agata, a ham- 
let on the crest of the divide, where there was a nice 
" pension " already much patronised by the family in 
very hot weather. When the little people had been driven 
off, jubilant over what was to them a favourite excursion, 
Mrs. Berdan and Fanny Lay exchanged a long look of 
questioning. Each caught in the other's eyes a gleam of 
wicked venturesomeness. 

" I would n't miss it for worlds! " exclaimed Fanny. 

" I mean to stay," was her elder's reply, " but I ought 
to send you after the children." 

"Would you like to try?" Fanny asked, with the 
little Indian snarl in her deep voice that we all knew so 
well. One of her forbears had taken a Cherokee Prin- 
cess — or something of that kind — to wife, and to 
scratch the girl's temper was to recall the red lady at 
once. Fanny got very angry when Marion called her 
the Squaw, but she had a good many characteristics that 
could have been derived only from that caprice in her an- 
cestry — coal black eyes and hair, a wild, most alluring 
beauty of face and figure, and an altogether unholy 
fashion of getting her own way. It was always more 
convenient to give in to her whims than to let loose that 
266 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

Indian tornado of a temper! She had a wonderful 
soprano voice and sang like a trained artist; also there 
were most lovable sides to her character, and she was 
fiercely loyal to those she called her friends, besides 
possessing the quality which appeals to some of us almost 
more than any other, absolute fearlessness in the joy of 
pursuing adventure. This quality crops up in very un- 
expected places. Mrs. Berdan, the charming, elderly, 
cosmopolitan, society woman, had it in a marked degree. 
She quite sympathised with Fanny's mood that day, and 
the two ladies resolved to " see it out," much to the dis- 
tress of the Mayor (who was also the doctor), the good 
" Parroco," and all the humbler neighbours. 

They were not cheated of the experience, for that night 
" it " came. An hour after midnight a fearful report, 
which was heard many miles away, rang out over the 
sleeping country, and was followed by a perfect cannon- 
ade of thuds, each of which seemed to shake the Villa 
Crawford to its foundations. The echoes went rolling 
away among the hills and then were roused afresh by 
new boomings — as if the Titans were having a ball 
game with boulders for missiles. The two women were 
honestly frightened then, they afterwards told me, but 
when the commotion ceased and they found the house 
still standing over their heads, they rather congratulated 
themselves on having the thing to remember. 

With the dawn they crept out to see what had really 

happened, and then they became jubilant, for the entire 

area of the stone quarry had flung itself down on'Marion's 

land in the ravine bottom, and the masses of tumbled 

267 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

stone had thereby become his property. For years he had 
been trying to buy that dangerous bit of land, In order 
to enlarge his grounds on the side of the ravine, but the 
proprietor, taking advantage of his evident keenness, 
had set an absurd price on it, which Marion refused to 
pay. Now Its chief asset had become his by law, and a 
short time afterwards he succeeded in acquiring the con- 
tiguous orange orchard, etc., at a reasonable figure, while 
the stone so rudely presented to him furnished the 
material for the Impregnable and towering masonry 
which now protects the Villa from the invasions of the 
sea and all danger of landslides along the deep ravine. 
One more benefit also accrued to him from that summer 
night's catastrophe. The hurling rocks scooped out a 
hollow where they fell, and let loose a hitherto unsus- 
pected spring of purest water which was at once utilised 
as a supplementary supply for the house. 

This question of a permanent water supply was one to 
which my brother had paid most earnest attention, not 
because water, and that of the purest, is wanting, at our 
end of the Penisola, but because of the peculiar condi- 
tions under which It is obtained when required In any 
great quantity. Most of the older houses have wells 
of their own, very ancient and so deep that it requires 
several minutes to pull up the endless yards of rope at- 
tached to the bucket. The well In the courtyard of the 
Cocumella, indeed, has flights of spiral stairs leading to 
chambers cut in the rock to serve as cellars — but that 
was the work of the Jesuit Fathers, who always do every- 
thing so practically and thoroughly. 
268 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

For general use, water was brought down from the moun- 
tains, I cannot say just how long ago, in a series of piped 
channels, over a distance of many miles. The system is a 
very complicated one, with faucets and keys to turn the 
stream on or off at great numbers of stations — towns and 
isolated villas, gardens and vineyards — all along its course. 
These faucets are hidden away in all sorts of unlikely 
places, behind the twentieth brick from the west corner 
in somebody's wall, under a certain rock by the roadside, 
two feet from the last turning of the second lane beyond 
Vico Equense, and so on — a labyrinth without a map 
or plan — and the clue to it all Is in the memory of one 
man, the " Guardiano dell' Acqua ! " He confides it to 
his heirs as it was confided to him by his fathers, a secret 
jealously kept and a privilege most fiercely defended. 
He is paid by the townships, of course, and they in their 
turn levy the water fees from the consumers, but if a 
housekeeper is rash enough to quarrel with the Guardiano 
or any of his relations, that man's supply will probably 
be turned off at a moment's notice and not another drop 
will he get until he has eaten humble pie and made peace 
with the Water Trust ! 

Everybody is very polite to the water-autocrat, of 
course, but since one may give offence without intending 
it, Marion resolved to take no chances for himself and 
his family. He dug a reservoir to the west of the house, 
of truly Roman dimensions; it contains enough water to 
supply the Villa for two years, should other resources fail ; 
to keep it sweet the device of the ancients was employed, 
several dozens of eels being imported and left to make a 
269 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

home in its cool depths; and over the whole my brother 
built the " Moorish Court," where we passed all the 
summer evenings and which he designed as the founda- 
tion of the splendid library he intended to build later on. 
The first one, spacious and high as it was, could have held 
scarcely another volume. The very doorways' wide depth 
was utihsed to bestow the books, yet the apartment was 
a wonderfully home-like and cheerful one, with its floods 
of sunshine and its wide view of the sea. He made it 
my bedroom for months, as I said before, and now the 
place has become sacred — for it was there that my dear 
brother died. 

Many a long talk we had by the open fireplace 
in the winter twilights, after my sad return from Japan in 
1894. I went down to him in October, and I had only 
been there a few days when he begged me to take to 
writing. " Write a children's story," he said, " it will 
take your mind off other things and will sell well — 
there is a dearth of good stories for children just now." 
So I began the " Brown Ambassador," and in that rigma- 
role of fancy could completely forget my own identity 
as long as the pen was in my fingers. The greatest 
pleasure I had out of the little book was in Marion's de- 
light over its absurdities. His great happy laugh over 
the scene where Squawx, the wicked old crow, gets drunk, 
rings in my ears still. Much good advice he gave me too. 
One axiom of his is very noteworthy. It was not ad- 
dressed to me, but to a young writer who complained that 
he could not compose in uncongenial surroundings. " My 
■dear boy," Marion told him, " composing is entirely a 
270 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

matter of habit. If you made up your mind to do it, you 
could write a treatise on ice-cream, in Hell ! " 

The library was put to other than library uses some- 
times. One of the doorways into the drawing-room was 
very wide and deep, making a splendid frame for im- 
promptu Tableaux Vivants. Marion shared my love of 
such things and listened eagerly when I represented to 
him that with a house full of pretty women and beau- 
tiful children it was sheer waste not to " get up " some- 
thing to amuse the elders — to whom I did not belong in 
those days. My mother and stepfather and Mrs. Berdan 
made the nucleus of the audience, much swelled by friends 
and retainers, and as for the Dramatis Personae, it was 
*' I'embarras du choix." 

When once the magic word, " Tableaux," had been 
spoken, Marion let everything else go to the winds and 
flung himself into the dramatic stream with a zest that 
carried the whole establishment with him. To us it was 
utter joy — I am never so happy as in organising a 
" show " if I have any kind of material to work with, and 
am sure I was born to be a theatrical manager. (Though 
my dear mother once gravely assured me that the 
world had lost two first-rate housemaids in her and 
myself!) 

With all the sailors for scene-shifters, and masses of 
embroideries and rich stuffs to utilise, it would have been 
disgraceful not to turn out something very superior in- 
deed. And we did. One or two of those pictures have 
stayed in my mind; Marlon in Moorish armour made a 
superb executioner for Bessie as a condemned wife, her 
271 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

golden hair, with jessamine blossoms caught like stars in 
the gold, rippling to the ground where she had flung her- 
self at his feet, one white arm catching at the scimitar, 
praying for mercy. The setting was as good as the figures 
— a gorgeous Moorish interior built out of tapestries and 
brasses fetched from the drawing-room. It was all so 
real that the smaller children were rather frightened lest 
their beautiful Mamma's head should be cut off before 
the curtain fell ! 

Then we had a Spanish Infanta — whose portrait had 
been haunting me for years and for whom I found a 
perfect impersonation in a very dear girl staying in the 
house. That one I had photographed, frame and all, 
and nobody who has seen that photo will believe that it 
is not the reproduction of a 17th century portrait. But 
the triumph of that particular evening was, I think, our 
Vestal Virgin, tending the sacred flame. In a grove of 
dark ilex (each tree upheld by an invisible sailor) stood 
my niece, Louise von Rabe, a girl not strikingly hand- 
some in everyday life, but perfect, as a statue, in cling- 
ing white, reaching up to feed the flame on the tall classi- 
cal tripod — into which Marion, who was a bit of a 
chemist, had put some weird ingredients, for it flung up 
a tall, pear-shaped flame of disturbing brilliancy, but most 
becoming to the calm, severe young face it shone down 
upon. There was a gasp from the audience when the cur- 
tain went up on that ! Then the children screamed their 
delight, while the elders voiced their fear of a conflagra- 
tion. Marion never made any mistakes of that kind; 
he had the thing under control, but we could only show 
272 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

that picture twice ; when the third came, the " dope " 
had given out, and our Vestal said she was glad of it — 
she had been frightened to death ! 

The next time the dramatic Muse took us in hand we 
chose a larger space where we could give pictures with 
many figures in them. Beyond the dining-room was an 
unfinished hall with slender marble pillars dividing off one 
end of it, a tiny gallery for musicians, a balconied window 
towards the sea, and some other peculiar features which 
made it a fine theatre for our impromptu representa- 
tions. I forget whose birthday it was — there were so 
many to mark with " festas " — but I remember that we 
had resolved to surpass ourselves that time because the 
ever-beloved Henry James was staying in the house, and 
a smile of pleasure and approbation from him was worth 
putting one's self " a quatre " for. Some twenty-two years 
earlier, in my " salad days," I had the tenacity to act 
one of Musset's diaphanous little comedies before him. 
Youth and confidence carried me through it; and I had 
the help of being more than half in love with my " primo 
amoroso," dear Mario Gigliucci; but I realised my rash- 
ness when Mr. James took me aside afterwards and 
said in his confidential, indulgent way, " Why did n't you 
come to me first? I could have taught you some of 
Madeleine Brohan's touches! You missed some of the 
best points." 

I had found it prudent to give up acting, myself, after 

three or four years of marriage. Violent love scenes on 

the stage with good-looking men are not conducive to 

harmony at home. But keep out of the thing I cannot! 

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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

People have traded on this weakness, to make me respon- 
sible for some rather big and hard undertakings; even 
now I doubt whether I could refuse if they tried again; 
but when Marion and I were together nothing seemed 
hard! On that particular occasion at Sorrento we 
" thought-up " some splendid pictures, several of which I 
used in Japan in 1906, in a show given for the famine 
sufferers. We had with us the Marchese Patrizi and his 
wife; she was a Gondi of Florence, and so like Dante 
that I put her into a scarlet robe and hood, turned the 
sailors into monks, and behold Dante, approaching the 
convent — clinging to a pillar of the dim cloister — seek- 
ing refuge from his enemies ! 

To follow this we wanted a blaze of Borgian colour, so 
we gave Caterina Sforza fighting her famous duel across 
the supper table with Cesare Borgia — Marion resplendent 
in that gorgeous costume, while the horrified Cardinal (my 
son Jack) puts up his hand to knock the rapiers apart, and 
the virago's page, from whom she had snatched the 
weapon, looks on in unholy delight. After this had been 
duly applauded came a really beautiful scene — the Gaulish 
Chieftain, Vercingetorex, giving himself and his family 
up to the Roman conqueror, to save his people. Marchese 
Patrizi was the prostrate hero, his children's governess, 
whose hair fell to her feet, his mourning wife, and the 
little Patrizis, clothed in skins, were grouped behind them 
where they lay at the feet of the hard-hearted Emperor, 
my youngest son, in toga and laurel wreath, sitting on a 
real curule chair under a canopy upheld by four stalwart 
guards, the ever-useful sailors. They were shy at first 
274 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

of showing themselves in short tunics and bare legs, but 
when they beheld Marion, as their leader, in the same 
costume, they became reconciled to it. He stood out as 
the chief point in the picture, a towering figure to the 
right of the Emperor, axe in hand, and looking contempt- 
uously down on the captive Gaul. 

Last of all we had a fairy scene from Midsummer 
Night's Dream — a triumph of ambition ! There were 
six little Patrizi's and four Crawfords, and our tiny stage 
was crowded, but the picture was so pretty that the 
musicians, who had been playing all the evening in the 
hidden niches, with a flask of Chianti to keep up their 
spirits, forgot their music and nearly tumbled over in their 
eagerness to see it. Marion's youngest girl, a golden- 
haired little Titania, sat stroking the donkey ears of a 
huge mask, inside of which her twin, Bertie, was choking 
with laughter. The fairies hovered round and about 
them, in the branching greenery, and Eleanor Crawford 
stood above, like a presiding goddess, with stars in her 
fair hair and flowers trailing down her white robeS, and 
bare arms raised as if to call down blessings on true lovers 
and punishment on fickle ones. My brother never real- 
ised till then how lovely his eldest daughter was. We 
were standing in the wings, and he turned to me with 
a cry of triumph — " Mimo, do you understand? That 
is beauty! " 

" Comme vous y allez ! " Henry James exclaimed when 
we crawled out of our hiding place. " That was enchant- 
ing! How long have you been preparing this surprise 
for us all? " 

275 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

" We thought of it yesterday morning," I replied. " All 
the frocks have been made since then! " 

" It is not the frocks," he said, — manlike, he thought 
frocks grew of themselves — " but the thought, the 
elaborateness ! But you had wonderful material to work 
with!" 

It was a treat to have Mr. James in the house. His 
keen interest in everything, his utter absence of " side," 
the exquisite urbanity which tempered every expression 
of his unerring judgment of men and women; above all, 
his amazing humility about his own achievements, made 
up a most endearing personality. He greatly admired 
Marion and would lure me on to talk of him on every 
opportunity. We all felt quite poor the day Henry James 
left the Villa ! 

One little entertainment, often repeated there, was a 
great delight to stray guests who happened in. This was 
the children's Tarantella. When they were still quite 
small the illustrious Giacchino (the town barber who was 
the Tarantella Impresario and the chief dancer and singer 
as well) was sent for to teach the quartette all the intri- 
cacies of the graceful ancient dance, as well as a whole 
repertoire of songs, which never sounded more charm- 
ing than from their pretty mouths. For the dancing they 
had the costumes of the country, and though the eldest 
boy was the only dark-eyed child in the family, the fair 
little girls looked quite their best in the bright colours. 
In the dark, panelled dining-room, with it background of 
silver in oaken presses, and the windows open to the ter- 
race over the sea, the little people, going through the 
276 



LIFE AT VILLA CRAWFORD 

Intricate figures with joyous sprightliness, made a picture 
worth remembering. 

Among those who sometimes watched It with us were 
a nice old English General and his wife who had an apart- 
ment In a neighbouring villa. There they had little garden 
parties and lawn tennis, and we used to be much amused 
by the General's insisting on having tea and boiling the 
kettle In the open air — a I'Anglaise, in spite of every 
obstacle. Under his queerly expressed directions the 
anxious man-servant would build a tottering erection of 
stones and sticks, and get black in the face with trying to 
blow up the fire. Once he brought the whole thing down 
on himself, and his peppery master, unable to restrain his 
wrath, cried, in what I believe he thought was Italian, 
*' Oh you d — d fool! Tutto e tomhato! " 

It was rather embarrassing sometimes to have guests 
insist on " showing their interest In the lower classes," 
as they were pleased to put it. One Englishman, I re- 
member, made a point of asking friendly questions of the 
contadini on the road. One day, when he was out with my 
sister-in-law, he stopped a pretty girl and — with an ac- 
cent no pen can render, asked, looking her straight in 
the eyes, " Quanti bambini avete " (" How many children 
have you? ") " I? " she shrieked, " I am not married! " 
If Bessie had not been there I believe she would have 
knifed the benevolent gentleman. 

An Irishman named Mulock, a brother-in-law of the 

Laureate, Alfred Austin, told us he had exposed himself 

in a similar manner. Walking in the hills he had met an 

extremely pretty girl carrying a lamb. He smiled — she 

277 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

smiled back, and asked him If he would not buy her 
" agnellino," which she was taking to the market. " lo 
no compro agnellino — ma lo compro vol!" was his 
tactful reply. No other weapon being at hand, the lamb 
was instantly hurled in his face. 

One can quite understand the temptation of stray 
bachelors to try and have another look at some unusually 
pretty face. There was one woman who used to come 
down from the hills carrying oranges to the Marina; I 
could have followed her for miles for the mere pleasure 
of watching her movements. She walked like a goddess, 
her superb figure swaying rhythmically as she balanced 
her great baskets on her beautiful, proud head. Generally 
this habit, begun in childhood, of carrying weights on the 
head presses early lines on the brow, but this woman's 
forehead was smooth as marble, her dark eyes calm and 
commanding, her rich colour was never deepened by the 
feat she was performing. The men spoke of her with 
something like awe — for she swept down those rough 
roads with two hundred pounds' weight of oranges for a 
crown! I never saw her even raise her arm to steady 
the enormous burden, and, except that the white column of 
her throat was held rigid as marble, there was nothing 
to tell that the load was not one of flowers. 

I have lingered too long with my beloved Sorrentini ! 
It Is time to pick up the thread of the closing years of 
my wanderings. 



278 



XII 

THE OUT-TRAIL 

In Tyrol — Mary Howitt and the Dominican Father — An Ideal Home — 
The Prince Bishop's Manor House — Hansi and Liesel — Across the 
World Again ! — Rio Pictures — A Monte Video Couple — A Fragile 
Cargo — Good-bye, Summer — The Fozen Straits — Antarctic Cannibals 
— The Globe Rainbow — A Forgotten Rock — Santiago, the "Paris of 
South America" — Wet Lodgings — My First Earthquake — A "Little 
Place" in Peru — A Pretty Quiverful — Chilean Family Life. 

I WAS obliged to leave Rome, in the spring of 1884, 
on account of my eldest boy's health, which was 
causing great anxiety. I had been advised to take him 
to Tyrol, and thither we travelled by easy stages, leav- 
ing his younger brother under my mother's care in 
Rome. 

There were some heavy clouds on my horizon when I 
reached Meran in May, with my sick child and his nurse, 
dear Soeur Camille of the Bon Secours, who was always 
sent to children's cases because they loved her on sight — 
as indeed most people did. We had stayed a day or two in 
Florence, another at Botzen, and already there the friend- 
liness of the country had made itself felt and the clouds 
looked less dark. On reaching Meran we were greeted by 
Miss Howitt, who at once arranged to have us occupy an 
independent apartment in the beautiful house she had built 
for her mother, a very old lady now, but still full of the 
279 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

life and charm shown in her literary work with her hus- 
band, who had died some five years before. Who does 
not remember gratefully those names, " William and 
Mary Howitt?" Some of their books had been almost 
life companions of mine and had done for me what they 
must have done for thousands of others — they helped 
me to understand and value " Nature, the kind old 
nurse," as Longfellow called her, and to live so that I 
could fall back on her for consolation when human beings 
failed me, as we all fail each other at times. 

When I went to stay in Mrs. Howitt's house in Meran 
she had only recently become a Catholic, and she told 
me how very hard it had been for her to lay aside her 
fierce early prejudices when conviction came to her. Her 
daughter was already an ardent Catholic, and Mrs. 
Howitt had lived so constantly on the spiritual plane 
that when once the truths of Religion were laid clearly 
before her, her integrity of mind made it impossible not 
to accept them, but she said that she had quite a battle 
with herself before consenting to receive, as her in- 
structor for her reception into the Church, a Dominican 
Father whom her daughter had selected for that purpose. 
A Dominican ! a follower of him who was called the 
" Hound of the Lord," whose emblem, a dog carrying 
a torch in its mouth, she had been taught to regard as 
a symbol of ruthless persecution ! The very habit, in 
its severe black and white, inspired her with fear; and 
all this aversion was perhaps more natural to Mrs. 
Howitt than to persons of far fiercer Protestant hatreds 
than her gentle soul could ever nourish, because she was 
280 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

born and brought up a Quaker, looking upon fighting of 
any kind as a sin. 

It took her some time to " forgive " St. Dominic for 
his mighty and availing championship of Truth against 
error; she had never heard of his gentleness with the 
sinner in the midst of all his conflict with the sin, of the 
eighty thousand whom he called back from the pit of 
that hideous, bloody Albigensian heresy, simply by his 
preaching and his prayers — those victories of the 
Rosary; and Dante's description of him, " I'amoroso 
drudo della fede cristiana, il santo atleta," ^ roused no 
echoing admiration in her heart. 

But Mrs. Howitt told me that all prejudice died and 
illumination came with the first visit of the Domini- 
can monk. His earnestness and gentleness — for gentle- 
ness is a great Dominican characteristic — won her at 
once, and I never saw any woman happier in her Religion 
than this dear old lady. She was not strong enough to 
go out to church, so they had fitted up a beautiful chapel 
on the top floor of the house, and every Sunday morning 
at eight o'clock Father Paul, from the neighbouring 
Benedictine College, came to say Mass for the house- 
hold. The house was in many ways like a Chapel, all 
through. There was no affected thrusting forward of 
religious pictures, yet everywhere something spoke of 
God and holy things. And what a beautiful house it 
was, all panelled with the rich dark wood of Tyrol, full 
of the memorials of two long lifetimes of love of beauty 
and goodness, and pervaded with the delightful atmos- 

1 Paradiso, canto XII. 
281 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

phere that hangs only round happy and upright people. 
Miss Howitt told me that when It was completed she 
had called in Father Paul to bless It, and that to his 
question as to what special grace he should ask for the 
house and Its Inhabitants she had replied, " That all who 
ever dwell here may be of one mindy 

Meran became too warm for us In the beginning of 
June and we moved down into the Brixener Thai, leav- 
ing the dear Howitts the less regretfully because they 
too would soon take flight to their own particular sum- 
mer haunt. In the heights beyond Toblach, where I visited 
them later In the season. Some old friends who owned 
a chateau near Brixen, Baron and Baroness Schon- 
berg, took great trouble to find quarters for us there, 
and to my great delight, obtained from the Prince Bishop 
of Brixen permission for us to live in a tiny manor house 
of his in the heart of the woods near Vahrn, about an 
hour's walk from Brixen. The Lindlhof was very 
ancient, very queer, more like a little fortress than a 
house, with walls six feet thick, low doorways and 
enormous fireplaces. Its garden mounted In narrow 
terraces to the church, which stood on an eminence 
behind It, and those terraces were smothered In jessa- 
mine and all sorts of sweet, old-fashioned flowers that 
seemed to have gone on replanting themselves for ages, 
for I could not make out that anybody ever attempted to 
tend them. 

Two retainers of the Prince Bishop lived on the 
premises, a very old man called HansI, and his equally 
old wife, " Die Liesel"; they both wore the Tyrolean 
282 



I 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

costume and lived in one big stone room on the ground 
floor, a room so German, so crammed with quaint 
properties — among these two antique spinning-wheels 
of enchanting design — and withal so inviting and 
picturesque that to enter it was like walking into a 
page of the " Richter Album." It only wanted the 
canary's cage in the window and the lost Princess wan- 
dering in at the door to make the rest of the fairytale. 
Oh, Jean Paul Richter, " may the Lord make your bed in 
Heaven " for all the pure happiness you brought into 
my childhood! 

When, with Mr. J. I. Stahlmann, I was writing " The 
Golden Rose " ^ (now appearing in America), I had to 
find a home for the Prince Bishop of the story, and fixed 
upon the Lindlhof and its surroundings. The little 
manor house only lent its name to Uncle Alexis' much 
bigger castle, but the surroundings are all accurately de- 
scribed, and I must refer my readers to " The Golden 
Rose " for my impressions and experiences of Tyrol. 
One does not write twice about what one loves so much ! 

My husband had brought my smallest boy to me from 
Rome and then went on to attend to many affairs in 
England. We were to have a year's leave, and before 
it had expired Hugh would receive promotion and new 
marching orders. But we three, with little Soeur Camille 
for a fourth, were so happy at Vahrn that for once I 
gave little thought to the immediate future. In the 
autumn we rejoined my husband in England and went 
down to the Devonshire coast for the winter. 

1 Dodd, Mead & Co. 
283 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

That was my first introduction to Devonshire, the lazy, 
lovely country that took my heart then and has held 
it ever since. In the spring we got our orders to go to 
Chile, and sailed from Liverpool in June, having left 
our boys at school in Worcestershire, and otherwise in 
the care of Hugh's sister in Bath. They were quite 
little yet. Mothers know what such separations mean. 

Summer was with us all the way across the Atlantic, 
which was fortunate, since our vessel, the good old 
Cotopaxi, was carrying back a load of copper which for 
some reason had not been accepted in England; to avoid 
the expense of packing the bars regularly, a risky task 
for which higher wages have to be paid, the metal had 
been dumped in the hold pell-mell, and left to settle it- 
self. It " settled " all on one side, and for the whole 
six weeks of the voyage we listed over at a very sharp 
angle. By the time we were set on shore for our first 
day off, we all limped in the queerest way, having learnt 
to keep our balance only by listing over in the direction 
contrary to the tilt of the steamer. The first long run 
after leaving the coast of Portugal was monotonous 
enough, and we were glad indeed to sail into the beauti- 
ful harbour of Rio and enjoy the sweets of terra firma 
for twenty-four hours. 

The scene on the quay was a novel one for me and 
full of rejoiceful colour. The fruit market spread itself 
all over the pavement, and the fruit was a sight to see, 
even for eyes accustomed to the products of South Italy. 
There were mountains of oranges — at first it seemed as 
if the square was paved with them; everywhere the 
284 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

negro women, in one white cotton garment for their 
bodies, gorgeous scarlet turbans on their heads, and one 
or two (who must have come from Bahia further up on 
the coast) with white satin slippers on their bare black 
feet, chattered and quarrelled and tried to sell us scream- 
ing parrots whose brilliant plumage made one's eyes ache 
under that down-beating, merciless sun. Very quickly 
we found our way to a cool hotel where we feasted on 
" shore food " with oranges between the courses, as we 
nibble salted almonds at home. On each of the little 
tables was a dish piled high with the fruit, already peeled, 
" a la Bresilienne " and with lumps of ice packed in 
between the translucent topaz spheres. 

In the afternoon we drove out to the suburb in the 
hills which is the real residential quarter of Rio, and 
silently drank in the delights of the moist greenery, 
never so welcome as after weeks at sea. The heat was 
intense, but the greenness made up for it all, and I came 
back to the town in the happiest of moods, glad to sit 
still and watch the sunset fires die in a moment as the 
swift tropical night came down, to be glorified later by 
a huge full moon under whose flooding silver the har- 
bour with its delicately wooded Islands looked magically 
unreal and beautiful. 

Our next stopping place was Monte Video, where 
we lost two travelling companions who had been a 
constant source of amusement to me till then, a young 
Uruguayan in the Diplomatic Service, and his wife. They 
seemed children to us, but they had two of their own, 
having been married four years earlier when their 
285 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

respective ages were fifteen and nineteen. The little 
man resented any references to age, and blustered and 
laid down the law on every occasion to convince himself 
that he was grown up; the wife, a charming, gentle little 
creature in delicate health, used to watch him with a 
melancholy amusement in her eyes. She had grown up 
to and far beyond him — maternity is a searchingly 
ripening process — and had learnt early not to contra- 
dict her spouse, who, to assert his lordship, I suppose, 
invariably addressed her in strident accents as " Maria 
Teresa, mi Mujer!" whether it were in the course of 
a heated argument (which he had all to himself) or 
to offer her something at table. Once she confided to me 
that the marriage had been arranged entirely by the two 
families, and that, although, of course, she had nothing 
to say against her " compaiiero," yet it was hard on a 
girl to fling her into matrimony before she was out of 
short skirts, and that she always told the relations, 
" You married us to amuse yourselves — you wanted to 
see what we would do ! " 

It was characteristic of the strong filial feeling in the 
Latin races that the little couple had instantly under- 
taken the three weeks' journey from Europe, leaving 
their children behind, on receipt of a cablegram inform- 
ing them that Fernando's mother was dangerously ill. 
There had never, apparently, been much chance of her 
living until their arrival, and at Monte Video they 
learnt that the effort had been in vain. The poor lady 
had expired some days earlier. 

After touching at Buenos Ayres we left summer 
286 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

behind and started on the long track down the coast, 
the weather growing colder and foggier every day, so 
that but for the nature of the new deck cargo we had 
taken on, we should have forgotten what the sunshine 
looked like. This cargo consisted of several tons of 
oranges, for which a low-walled enclosure had been put 
up on the after deck. Like our tiresome copper, they 
were pitched in loose, and the space was filled up to the 
edge of the containing boards, a height of between three 
and four feet from the deck. From the fence to the 
stern was one solid flat expanse of yellow oranges, and 
on top of it the two men in charge, who looked like 
some of Stevenson's " Treasure Island " pirates, threw 
down their ponchos at night and slept peacefully. They 
were supposed to keep off marauders, but many a steer- 
age passenger crept up to the fence in the dark and 
carried away handfuls of the fruit; when we went down- 
stairs to our meals there would be a rush of little feet 
overhead — the steerage children making haste to beg 
for the rotten oranges of which every day a certain 
number had to be thrown away, the men spending all 
their daylight hours in picking out whatever had " gone 
squashy." The waste was pitiful to see, and the whole 
system presented a curiously strong contrast to the 
method used for exporting oranges from South Italy. 
There, every orange is wrapped in paper before being 
laid beside its fellow in a strong packing case, close 
enough not to be affected by movement yet not so as to 
get bruised by jamming. The girls do most of this work 
of packing and earn a good deal of money at it. 
287 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

By the time we had nosed our way through three days 
of dense fog and turned triumphantly into the opening of 
the Straits, the orange level had sunk quite a foot, but 
nobody seemed to mind; so It had always been and so 
it would always be. We had had no glimpse of sun or 
stars or anything indeed beyond the vanishing outlines 
of our own masts, when suddenly the fog lifted and Cape 
Virgenes rose clear to our right and the northernmost 
point of Tierra del Fuego on our left. It is not an 
easy corner to turn at the best of times, and we had come 
down the treacherous coast at a quarter speed, taking 
soundings every few minutes. *' When you can't see 
the top you must feel the bottom," said Captain Hayes, 
who was frankly delighted with having done the thing 
so neatly. Many a wreck lies strewn along the coast 
and on the cruel shores of the Straits; one after another 
was pointed out to me as we went through and I was 
told that the shipwrecked beings who had come to grief 
on the mainland were the fortunate ones; those whose 
vessels struck the other side met a dreadful end if they 
were cast up alive, for the Fuegians are still cannibals, 
a fact which did not make me regard them with pleasure 
when they came swarming round the steamer in open 
boats, great brown men, naked, in spite of the punishing 
cold, trying to barter furs for provisions. 

The cold was frightful ; I had never imagined any- 
thing like it. The steamer was heated with stoves 
below stairs, and in the daytime we huddled round them, 
rushing up on deck to look at the scenery and flying 
down again two minutes afterwards to thaw our hands 
288 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

and feet. At night everything seemed to turn to Ice 
— there was no getting warm at all. But the scenery 
was strangely impressive, in its deathly, frozen beauty, 
and although my heart sank at the thought that I must 
pass this way once more to get home, I was glad that I 
had seen it. To southerners, like myself, there is some- 
thing peculiarly terrifying in these polar regions with 
their ice that will never melt, their alien stars and white 
skies where the sun himself seems frightened to an un- 
warming pallor. Should one have to die there it seems 
as if the shivering soul would have a long way to go to 
find the gate of Heaven. Yet these cruel Straits of 
Magellan, with their intricate twists and all but land- 
locked lagoons bear a whimsical resemblance to the warm, 
dreamy Inland Sea of Japan. In one as in the other the 
passage is so narrow at times that you think you could 
almost touch the rocks on either hand, and the cold 
lagoons of the " Magallanes " with glaciers losing them- 
selves in the icy water, might once have been those of 
the Inland Sea, fringed with woods, studded with islets, 
had the doom of ice descended on Dai Nippon instead 
of on Patagonia. 

One marvel I saw there which Japan could never 
show. After we emerged from the Straits we beheld, 
far to the south of us, a single great cone of ice rising 
sheer from the dark blue of the Pacific; on its pointed 
summit rested a perfect sphere, like a gigantic ball, its 
entire surface one rainbow whose tints overflowed, 
fused, melted into one another and then defined them- 
selves into the mystic seven, the whole glowing and 
289 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

quivering with some light from within, of a glory that 
defies description. It seemed a chalice of fluid pearl, 
filled with wine of rose and amber and amethyst and 
ruby, of vintages culled among the stars, held up for the 
sun to drink. 

Coming out from the smooth water of the Straits, the 
Pacific hurled its breakers very disturbingly against our 
lopsided vessel, and, with all the courage of ignorance 
and the audacity engendered by the approaches of sea- 
sickness, many of the passengers besought Captain Hayes 
to take us up through Smith's Channel, but the Skipper 
was obdurate. " No Sirree," not for him that unsur- 
veyed though peaceful waste of needle rocks and un- 
sounded depths. He had had already one adventure 
of which he told me with suppressed fury — for no 
shadow of blame could attach to him for the accident and 
it had robbed him of half a year's pay. On a former 
trip through the Straits of Magellan his ship had struck 
a rock, sharp as a needle, where the chart proclaimed 
twenty fathoms of water. It cut a great hole in her side as 
cleanly as buttonhole scissors nip out a fragment of linen. 
But in those days a sober ocean liner would have scorned 
to fill and go to the bottom because of a scurvy hole in 
her side. The ten-foot aperture was stopped, mended, 
caulked, all in an incredibly short time, and had the Cap- 
tain had a little paint and a friendly dry dock to fly to, no 
one at home would ever have been the wiser. As it was, 
he had to steam Into Liverpool with that tell-tale mark 
on the CotopaxVs weatherbeaten cheek, and walk up to 
the Directors' oflice to report. 
290 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

Not long before that the amiable Directors had made 
a change in their method of paying salaries. The half 
of every officer's pay was to be kept back until the end 
of the year, and only given to him then if no accident had 
happened to the ship during his watch. As the Captain, 
by some effort of the Directors' imagination, is sup- 
posed to share every watch, he, poor man, is docked 
of his half year's pay in any case. If all goes well, the 
six months' dues are presented to him as a " bonus " — 
as Alice's own thimble was presented to her in Wonder- 
land — and he is expected to express his appreciation 
and gratitude. 

This time, as the Captain made his bow to the auto- 
crats round the green table, he knew just what to expect. 
The Agent had Informed them already of the scar on 
the ship's side. But what did take the Captain by sur- 
prise was this. When he told them precisely where the 
traitor needle of rock had risen up, as rocks do in those 
volcanic regions, with comparative suddenness, they told 
him, without the slightest appearance of regret or shame, 
that they had been Informed of the new obstacle and had 
forgotten to have It marked on the Cotopaxi's chart. 
What was there for them to regret, after all? Six months 
of a good and true man's pay could be — and was — 
stolen from him, to return to the pocket of the Company. 

It sounds un-English, does it not? But some queer 
things happen in English business offices. 

Years later, when we had returned to Europe, Smith's 
Channel was surveyed and steamers Instructed to take 
that route. The good ship Cotopaxi went to pieces on 
291 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

its horrible sunken rocks, and I was told that Captain 
Hayes lost his job. If so, the Company lost in him one 
of the finest, straightest, and most experienced skippers 
who ever put to sea. 

Few travellers, I fancy, go to Chile by the long sea 
route now that the railway runs across the continent 
from Argentina. The undertaking was an enormously 
costly one and for many years seemed unlikely to be 
carried out, not only on that account but because of its 
unpopularity in Chile. The Chilenos regarded the Re- 
publics on the other side of the mountains as undesirable 
neighbours and I have heard pious people in Santiago 
say that to connect themselves with those ungodly coun- 
tries by a railway was like flying in the face of Providence, 
by whose clemency the impassable barrier of the Andes 
had been so clearly intended to keep Chile from the 
contamination of intercourse with the other coast. The 
Chilenos considered themselves immeasurably in ad- 
vance of all the other South American Republics in 
civilisation and virtue, a piece of conceit which might 
perhaps be pardoned in consideration of the fact that 
the only one they knew at all well was Peru. 

There were some pleasant Santiago people on board 
the Cotopaxi, Madame Vergara, and her daughter who 
had just been married to Senor Errazuriz. The party 
was returning from Paris, where the wedding had taken 
place, and although they represented Santiago to me as 
everything delightful, I could see that Madame Vergara 
was coming back rather regretfully and that Paris, not 
Santiago, held the first place in her affections, as it 
292 



J 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

seemed to do in those of all the Chilenos I met after- 
wards who had spent any time there. They had christ- 
ened their queer unfinished capital, five thousand feet 
above the sea, in a desolate, sandy plain, " The Paris 
of South America," but when the mines were working 
well and the haciendas producing satisfactorily they flew 
off to the real Paris, where, in spite of the gulf separating 
French taste and ways of living from their own, there 
is a large and more or less permanent colony of rich 
South Americans. I am sure the worldly ones at home 
hope to go there when they die ! 

The approach to Valparaiso is so forbidding that It 
is difficult to understand how it filched the name — " The 
Vale of Paradise." Seen from the sea, rows of ugly 
red-roofed warehouses greet the newcomer; not a tree 
is to be seen; the landscape consists of arid bluffs at the 
feet of which lies a long, untidy port town without a single 
beauty to recommend it. The impression was so for- 
lornly discouraging that I remember turning to Captain 
Hayes, who was standing beside me on deck, and telling 
him that if he would but put to sea again I would go back 
to Europe without landing. The desire to run away was 
almost overpowering. 

A few minutes later we were taken off by a govern- 
ment official who had been sent to meet and welcome 
us, a dreary, morose-looking man in a cocked hat and 
white gloves. He seemed to regard us as " his cross," 
as the maidservant in Punch told her mistress she had 
been advised to look upon her — and was evidently 
much relieved when we were claimed and carried off by 
293 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Drummond Hay, our own Consul, who entertained us 
most pleasantly till the hour when we could take the train 
to Santiago. Drummond Hay was one of those brilliant, 
self-willed, naturally dominant but hot-headed men whom 
the weary officials at the Foreign Office find hard to place 
and hard to manage. He had some Burton elements in 
him, but, falling short of that illustrious autocrat's intel- 
lect and constancy, had in the earlier part of his career 
got into one or two scrapes — of a quite honourable kind, 
be it said — and instead of rising high in Diplomacy 
as he should have done, found himself relegated in 
middle age to a Consulship on the West Coast of South 
America. That was all gain for us, for he was a delight- 
ful companion and knew a great deal about the country 
— in fact he was the only Englishman there who could 
look at things from our own point of view. I think he 
had not hit it off very well with our predecessor, Paken- 
ham, and hailed the change. We were to live six 
hours away from Valparaiso where he was stationed, 
but the sense of comradeship covered that distance 
easily. 

We left by an afternoon train and before night fell I 
had got a fair idea of the outer aspect of the country, 
its loneliness and dryness, the poverty of the lower 
classes living in sparsely-scattered mud houses between 
fields of dried mud and stretches of drier sand. The 
road mounted all the way, sometimes at an alarming 
angle; it was a single track, and so crazily built that a 
dozen times it seemed as if the wheels had jumped off 
the loosely-laid rails. Where the river comes rushing 
294 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

down through the gorges there was a very shaky bridge 
to cross and various precipices to skirt. We learnt later 
that the contractor, I think an Englishman, had in many 
places laid the ties across bags of sand with a light layer 
of earth on top, a fact which accounted for the frequent 
breakdowns all along the line. The earthquakes helped 
nicely to shake things up, and altogether one was always 
surprised and relieved to reach the appointed destina- 
tion within two hours or so of schedule time. 

We had struck Santiago in the depth of the Antipo- 
dean winter, and the cold — in the houses — was intense. 
The Pakenhams insisted on our staying with them for the 
first two or three days, a great kindness on their part, 
as they were in the last throes of preparation for de- 
parture. But even their cordiality could not warm the 
rambling rooms built round open patios which had to be 
crossed twenty times a day; the French window doors 
admitting icy breaths whenever they were opened, the 
absence of heating apparatus, all this made existence an 
uninterrupted succession of shivers and chills. Hugh and 
I decided that we would not live in a patio house if it 
were possible to avoid it. The attractive feature of the 
Pakenham's residence was its large, rambling garden, 
round which Mr. Pakenham showed us, pausing to point 
out with much glee a charcoal portrait of himself on the 
plaster back wall of an out-building. The sketch was 
bold, indeed, but quite recognisable. " Do you see that? " 
he chuckled, " the under footman did it — the young 
rascal! He thinks I have never discovered it — clever, 
isn't It?" 

295 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

" What are you supposed to be putting into your 
mouth? " I inquired. 

"That? Oh, that is a box of Holloway's pills — my 
favourite medicine. I always carry them about with me, 
and the servants believe I swallow box and all! " 

Mr. Pakenham had been Hugh's senior in the old, 
old days in Copenhagen, and only a few years ago I found 
a packet of letters addressed to my husband in Guate- 
mala, full of the social gossip which a forlorn young 
exile would most want to hear, — such bright, amusing 
letters and withal so voluminous that they did great 
credit to the heart of the older man who, in the midst 
of many duties and gaieties, made time to write them 
to cheer up an absent friend. There were other 
Copenhagen letters with them — one from a prom- 
ising young ornament of British Diplomacy, a recently 
joined attache, presumably nineteen or twenty years old, 
who had just fallen in love with Mrs. Somebody, " a 
divine creature — with eyes like melting plumbs.'''' 
There was no competitive examination for the Service 
in those days. 

The Pakenhams' departure was close at hand and we 
removed ourselves to the hotel, where we had to stay 
some weeks before we could find a lodging to our liking. 
The winter rains had now begun — it never rains at any 
other season in the north of Chile — and the cold was 
persistent and piercing. So was the rain. In order to 
accommodate architcture to earthquakes, the houses in 
Santiago are built up for only a few feet from the ground 
in brick, the entire superstructure being carried out in 
296 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

adobe, a rough mixture of mud and straw, with an iron 
framework to support it. This combination is elastic 
and rarely suffers much from the " temblores " which so 
constantly visit the place; but neither does it offer much 
resistance to the rain, which falls for about two months 
with such tropical copiousness that it washes holes for 
itself in the light roofs and flimsy walls, and pours as 
steadily into the buckets in one's drawing-room as into 
the gutters in the street outside. At the hotel I often 
had to sleep under an open umbrella, which did not pre- 
vent my waking up in a swamp of wet blankets in the 
morning. And the rain feels as if it had all come down 
from the top of Aconcagua's everlasting snows, over there 
to the northeast of the city that lies in the vast sand- 
plain table-land, from which the hills rise so gradually 
towards Aconcagua that it is hard to realise the 22,000 
feet of the dead volcano's towering height. 

Santiago has as many aspects as a capricious pretty 
woman. The little city is intersected from one end to 
the other by a noble Alameda or elm-avenue, the trees 
standing, in double rows, on either side. The centre is 
occupied by the tram lines; between the trees are stone 
channels where apparently clear streams of water rush 
and gurgle refreshingly; beyond the trees, on either side, 
runs the ordinary carriage road, with broad pavements, 
and the houses are for the most part of a fair size and 
showy with stucco, for this is the most fashionable resi- 
dential quarter. 

At the far northern end of the Alameda stands the 
old citadel of Santa Lucia, now a well planted prome- 
297 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

nade — steep and spiral, it is true, but gay with pepper 
trees whose scarlet berries and dainty foliage recall our 
mountain ash. The flower and the berry both give 
out a pleasantly pungent perfume. From the summit 
of Santa Lucia you see the whole city and understand 
its plan. The side streets cross the Alameda at regular 
intervals, the one leading to the Plaza de Armas being 
broad and well kept because it is one of the four which, 
branching out like a cross from the central square, con- 
stitute what is called the " Commercio," the quarter of 
smart shops and cafes, the only " paseo " or promenade 
patronised by pleasure seekers, who, in their best clothes, 
walk up and down there in the evenings, listening to the 
band which plays in the Plaza. 

The latter is dominated by the Cathedral, an imposing 
building with two low towers. Santiago possesses the 
great Cathedral altogether by mistake, for the plans, 
sent out from Spain when she governed all the western 
half of South America, got mixed up in Madrid, and the 
one designed for the City of Mexico found its way to 
Santiago, for which place a much more modest design 
had been selected. Methods of communication being 
then in their infancy, the error was not discovered till 
the Santiago Cathedral was almost completed, the two 
unfinished towers only testifying to the home govern- 
ment's disapproval and consequent withholding of further 
funds. It struck one as strange that the authorities should 
have consented to the erection of a huge, double-towered, 
stone building in a country where seismic disturbances 
are so frequent and violent, but the Santiago people were 
298 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

shocked when I suggested this ; the earthquake of thirty 
years before had destroyed numbers of the light, elastic 
dwelling houses, but Heaven had of course always taken 
care of its own property, and the Cathedral had not 
suffered. 

My first experience of earthquake (except a very 
slight one in Tuscany many years before) came while 
we were still at the hotel, and was sickeningly severe. 
I use the adjective advisedly, for the horrible heaving 
and rocking produces a sensation of seasickness strong 
enough to be felt through all the physical terror which 
accompanies it. As time went on, however, I grew less 
apprehensive of the Chilean "temblores"; the frequent 
shocks seemed to do no particular damage, and it was 
not until I went to Japan that the real horrors of earth- 
quake were revealed to me. The Chileans distinguish 
carefully between the usual quakings, which they call 
" temblores," and the cataclysm which will engulf a city 
in a moment, and which they designate " terremoto " 
as the Italians do. On the whole, Chile comes off lightly 
as compared with poor Peru, and its much shaken capi- 
tal, Lima ; there the tidal wave is the invariable ac- 
companiment of violent earthquake, and what these ter- 
rific collaborators can accomplish in the way of destruc- 
tion is so awful to contemplate that one wonders how 
human beings have the courage to live where such doom 
may fall upon them at any moment. Doubtless it is the 
marvellous richness of the country that charms appre- 
hension away. An Englishman who was staying in 
Santiago to press his claims for indemnity for damages 
299 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

after the war, and of whom we saw a great deal, gave 
me a wonderful description of his Peruvian property, an 
estate sixty miles in length, teeming with all the precious 
products. It began in the plains and ended in the hills, 
so that, as he said, he never needed to go off his own land 
for a change of climate. The higher parts of the land, 
although in such a tropical region, produced many of 
the fruits of more temperate zones, while the remainder 
gave rich harvests of those necessaries of life which will 
only come to perfection under the sun that slays unwary 
white people. With all this it seemed as if our friend 
should have been a very rich man, but he declared that 
he was a very poor one. The wretched conditions pre- 
vailing in Peru, the endless setbacks caused by the war, 
the difficulty of procuring labour, and, above all, the 
depreciation of the currency, had half ruined him and 
others like him. 

Mr. Williams had married a lady of the country and 
was much exercised as to the establishing of his daugh- 
ters in such evil times. He had nine, and he presented 
me with their portraits — such a gallery of prettiness as 
seldom falls to the lot of one family. From Elisa down 
through the long scale — Eleonora, Isabella, Matilda, 
Dolores, Margherita, Luzesita, — and their names were 
as pretty as their faces — the perfect South American 
type of girlhood in its bright-eyed innocence and health, 
reigned in all. It ages early, but in its young perfec- 
tion it has no rival in the old world. The dainty head, 
fair or dark, is held high, the eyes, of a clearness and 
brilliancy like their own skies, smile confidently out on 
300 




From a pliolc-raph 



MR. HUGH FRASER 



THE OUT-TRAIL 

an alluring world. The pure, glowing colouring and the 
full yet slender lines of the figure tell of uncontaminated 
health; grace and charm speak in the whole personality; 
and, with all its spirit and " vim," it is a personality 
so gentle, so truly feminine, that one cannot wonder 
at the spell it casts over the hearts of men born in 
sterner climes, where women are trained to repress the 
manifestation of " femininity " as something to be 
ashamed of. 

Few of those South American girls are highly intel- 
lectual — or they would not, as married women, have 
such enormous families; brain and body are rarely 
prolific together. But they are exceedingly intelligent in 
all that comes within their sphere, and there are few coun- 
tries where the woman's sphere is so well defined and 
so inviolate as it is in Chile. All that regards the home 
and the bringing up of the children is left to her unques- 
tioned judgment, and very well does she fulfil her re- 
sponsibilities. There is, except for the " Mundanas," 
the would-be fashionables who ape European ways, no 
social life beyond the circle of relationship and intimate 
friendship. The short " season " as it is called, brings 
little change into the existence of an ordinary well- 
regulated family. In summer as in winter there is much 
unceremonious evening visiting. The young people 
dance to their heart's content in their day clothes, while 
somebody strums the piano for them. 

Each family supplies what the Chilean woman cannot 
live without, plenty of company, for married sons and 
daughters almost always live in the paternal house of 
301 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

one party or the other. There the long line of the 
third generation are born and grow up, and there, too, 
stray aunts or cousins, and much more distant female 
relations are taken in and provided for. It seems to be a 
matter of pride with a man to look after the women of his 
own or his wife's family, and the traditions of the 
country, the old Spanish traditions, make it practically im- 
perative that he should do so, it being (at least when I 
was in Chile) an unheard-of thing that a gentlewoman 
should be allowed to earn her own living. 

To the general run of Englishmen it would be acute 
discomfort to live with a house full of females of vary- 
ing ages, all talkative and most of the time all talking at 
once. But the Chileno's nerves are not in the least dis- 
turbed by it. Through most of his life he has a business 
or profession to attend to and is absent the greater 
part of the day. When he Is at home, his womenkind, 
who, being only human, occasionally quarrel in his 
absence, sink their disagreements and vie with one 
another in their attentions to him. On great matters his 
word is supreme, and nobody would dream of troubling 
him with little ones. Being a South American, he is gre- 
garious and easily amused, and would look upon a silent 
house and a taciturn family as the worst of trials. Alto- 
gether I think his lot is rather to be envied by the average 
European head of a family. 

It took me a long time to find all this out. My first 
Impressions of people and things were rather vague and 
puzzling, and I think I was Inclined to be amused, per- 
haps flippantly so, by manners and customs which later 
302 



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drew from me only respect. There were contradictons 
which seemed inexplicable at the start. A government 
in open quarrel with the Church, a President — Santa 
Maria — for whom no one expressed anything but de- 
testation; a House of Representatives eternally trying 
to pass laws not only unpopular, but impious ; and a great, 
fairly intelligent community of devout, orderly Christians 
combating the authorities they must have at least allowed 
to come into power, storming Heaven to give them better 
rulers, and fighting the actual ones with unremitting cour- 
age and constancy. It was all very difficult to grasp and 
reconcile. Only when Santa Maria went out and his 
successor, Balmaceda, came In, did I see the difference 
between the candidate aspiring to place — promising 
all things, conciliating all classes, and the candidate 
successful — cynically repudiating his own glowing 
speeches, and throwing overboard the very men who had 
helped him to power. If their views did not fit in with 
his own. In both cases the government was entirely out 
of sympathy with the mass of the people, and much evil 
and suffering was the result. 

No government, however fiercely anti-Catholic It 
might be, could alienate the real Chileans from the 
Church. The life of the people is bound up with It, 
and even where the men of the family were its enemies, 
the women were faithful, the girls were sent to con- 
vents for their education, the boys, in almost every case, 
to the ecclesiastics' schools. The aggressive liberal 
abroad became the anxious head of the family at home, 
acknowledging the fact that only Catholic principles 
303 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

could make his children filial and obedient and keep 
their mother devoted to them and to him. Balmaceda, 
a professed atheist, took his little girls to the convent 
himself and handed them over to the surprised Mother 
Superior, saying, " Make good Christians of them — 
that is all I ask! " 



I 



304 



XIII 

PURELY DOMESTIC 

A Mistake and Its Consequences — My Heavy Handful — The Grocer's As- 
sistant — Scandal and Compromise — Revelations of the Ice-chest — A 
Conquering Substitute — A Painful Interview — < < Them Jams, Ma- 
dam!" — The Disappearance of Juan — A Sympathetic Inspector — A 
Good Friday Misadventure — " Muffins! " — Clara's Irish Lover. 

WHEN we left England we took with us three 
English servants — a butler, a cook, and my 
maid Clara. Somehow or other — from Hugh's experi- 
ences in Central America, I fancy — we got the impres- 
sion that native servants were very unreliable and, con- 
sequently, we thought it well to buttress the domestic 
arrangements with something we could count upon. It 
was a mistake which, under similar circumstances, we 
should not have been likely to make again. The ex- 
pense was terribly heavy and the wages were out of 
all proportion to the resultant benefits. Personally, I 
would have preferred to have taken chances about the 
butler and the cook, but Hugh was firm. He would have 
one respectable man-servant on the place, he said, and 
he refused to let himself be poisoned by the native 
messes, as he called them, which he remembered. 

Willis, the butler, had not travelled before. Nor had 
the cook, and when I add that she was extremely good 
looking and that he had no family ties of any kind 
305 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

that I could discover, some Ideas of my cares about both 
of them, on a seven weeks' journey, out of my sight, 
and always together, may be imagined. Clara, on the 
other hand, had been in Chile before, but she seemed to 
forget her Spanish as soon as she set foot on the shore. 

She began to adapt English habits to her surround- 
ings, or, to speak more accurately, adapted the surround- 
ings to her habits, and we had not been there long 
when she and the cook took to making evening prom- 
enades all over the town. I was crippled with rheu- 
matism at the time and spent most of my waking hours 
in a wheeled chair, so that it was not until some of my 
new found friends of the Corps told me of these 
*' Escandalos " that I heard of it — and it is a scandal 
of the greatest, in those countries, for young women 
to wander about the streets after dark. 

Questioning Clara, I discovered that both she and the 
cook had struck up an acquaintance with some young 
assistants in the great English grocery house where we 
got our supplies — and which does most of the grocery 
business of that part of the world — and that the young 
men were, from Clara's point of view, eligible and alto- 
gether responsible people with whom to be seen abroad. 
I got very angry with Clara, then, for she knew better. 
She had been in the country before and she knew its ways. 
For the cook it was another thing. In her the mistake 
was excusable. Whereupon Clara retorted, although re- 
spectfully enough, that they were English girls and not 
slaves, and that a little harmless amusement was not a 



306 



PURELY DOMESTIC 

I was too ill to argue, and I had no wish to turn 
the whole establishment upside down by sending them 
home, so I compromised. They were to be allowed 
to take their little pleasures of that sort unmolested 
but they must be in by a reasonable hour. They were 
also to keep to the big streets and not stray, nor were 
they to allow themselves to be led into anything like 
a restaurant for any reason, neither were they to speak. 
to native men of any class. I pointed out to Clara — 
what she well knew already — that only girls of a cer- 
tain sort were to be found with young men in such 
places after certain hours, and that any lapse of theirs 
reflected on the whole Legation. 

It was some weeks after that, that I was inspecting 
the kitchen, and as in duty bound, took a look at the 
ice box. It was stuffed with every sort of little delicacy. 
The cook was out marketing and I inquired of Clara 
what and who these preparations were for and why I had 
never seen them. Now Clara, as I said some time ago, 
had been brought up as a school teacher and, when she 
chose, could speak English as well as I could; but the 
moment she became at all confidential or felt herself 
to be sufficiently popular with the person she was address- 
ing, she relapsed into pure cockney. 

" Well, madam," she replied, " they 're hodds and 
hends. 'Arriet, madam, keeps them for her steady — 
her young man. 'E 's a most respectable young man — 
hand 'e says the food he gets here is something haw- 
ful — hand 'e is that lonely! " 

Well, it seemed to me that the young man in the 
307 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

kitchen would make less gossip than the young man any- 
where else, so I resigned myself — only observing to 
Harriet, when she came home, that she might, when 
she had time, make a few similar little delicacies 
for us. 

The satire was lost on her completely, though, and 
she promised eagerly, excusing herself by adding that 
she had not known that we cared about such things. 

In the days that followed, I could not help noticing 
that Harriet was getting very absent-minded but, afraid 
of starting any new developments, I held my peace until 
her preoccupation began to appear in the food. I con- 
cluded, naturally, that it had to do with her young man 
from the grocery, and one morning to open the sub- 
ject, I asked her how he was. To my surprise, she 
shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly and replied that he 
had been sent by the firm to Iquique. 

" Iquique! " I cried. " But — Harriet, why what has 
he done?" "I am sure I couldn't say," she replied, 
as though the question did not interest her in the least. 
" Well I hope he will live through it," I said feebly. 
" Very few of them do, I am told." " I hope so too, 
madam," she murmured and that was all I could get 
out of her. 

Clara knew why, of course, and, after some fencing, 
Informed me that the manager of the stores had taken 
a fancy to Harriet, himself. Not wishing to be drawn 
into an undignified competition with one of his own 
clerks, he had dispatched the luckless youth to drink 
himself to death or die of fever — the invariable end of 
308 



PURELY DOMESTIC 

the white man in Iquique — at his leisure. After that 
the manager took her out himself every night, and 
Clara, of course, had to take her young man elsewhere. 

The sequel was not long in coming. Mr. H 

— the manager aforesaid — was a serious man, and 
Harriet was too good a cook and too good looking a 
woman to be wasted on anything but a husband. One 
afternoon, about tea time, Clara entered the drawing- 
room where I was sitting alone and asked me if I would 

accord Mr. H an interview. With a foreboding 

of what was in the air, I told her to show him in, and, 
without a second's delay — he must have been waiting 
just behind her — there appeared a stout, side-whisk- 
ered Englishman, obviously ill at ease, but very 
determined. 

It did not take him long to come to the point. He 
had come to me, he said, in preference to disturbing 
His Excellency — wherein he was well advised, I could 
not help thinking. He was a bachelor. He recognised 
that I stood, as it were, in the position of guardian 
towards Harriet, whom he adored, and whom, if I saw 
no objection, he proposed to marry as soon as possible. 
When I had recovered my breath, I replied that Harriet 
was under a three years' contract, that I had brought 
her out at considerable expense, in order to make cer- 
tain of my husband's comfort, that she had not been 
with us for quite a year, and that the whole thing was 
a deliberate breach of faith. Thereupon he became 
sentimental, and assured me that they were made for 
each other and that he was certain I should not be 
309 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

so cruel as to stand in the way of the girl's happiness. 
He was rich, I knew, and I knew, too, that Harriet 
would never in this world get another such chance, 
besides which I was very fond of her. I asked for a 
few days' grace. I had, I told him, some one else to 
consider besides myself. Of course, he said. That was 
quite natural — and would I tell His Excellency? 

After that he left, and, as soon as he had gone, Clara 
appeared. Harriet had asked her to tell me that she 

firmly intended to marry Mr. H , — I can see 

Clara's demure smile at the trouble she was helping to 
raise, — and would I be kind enough to inform Mr. 
Eraser of her intention? 

" I will," I answered, " I '11 tell him, but I don't know 
what will happen." 

An hour later Hugh appeared, and when I had an op- 
portunity I told him. 

To say that he was furious is to put it very mildly. 
He laughed at my description of H , and sym- 
pathised with me, but as for Harriet he would see her 
further before he would allow her to break a contract 
in that light-hearted manner. He would write to the 
fellow, and that would be the end of it. If he had any 
more trouble with her he would send her home on the 
next ship. 

But Mr. H was not so easily discouraged. 

That evening he arrived at the Legation, and said that he 
wished to see the British Minister. The butler — who 
was in his confidence, of course — brought him up and 
showed him to Hugh's study, where he apologised for 
310 



PURELY DOMESTIC 

intruding, and said that he had tried to come and ar- 
range the affair on a friendly footing. 

Restraining, as he told me afterwards, an inclination 
to throw an ink bottle at him, Hugh asked him what 
he meant by a " friendly footing " and demanded an ex- 
planation of his outrageous conduct. After all the ex- 
pense and trouble of bringing the girl out, no sooner 
was she landed than she wanted to leave him ! 

Mr. H pleaded that she was an extremely 

refined character, quite out of her place in the kitchen, 
that he was violently in love with her, and that it hurt 
him keenly to think of her in a servile position — also 
that he would willingly pay all the expenses that we had 
incurred. 

That last suggestion almost closed the interview. I 
had to be sent for to smooth Hugh down and make 

him understand that Mr. H was really trying 

to do all that he could, at the same time explaining to 
him that my husband did not really call him an impudent 
rogue, and that, in the excitement, he must have mis- 
understood the words. It was a long business, for 
Hugh had entangled himself in the depths of that High- 
land temper of his, where I could not follow him, 

and every word that Mr. H , who accepted my 

suggestion very sensibly, could say, only made him worse. 
At last, though, Hugh came to the surface, and, after 
the other's repeated promises to scour South America 
for a cook for us, he consented to think it over. 

When it was all settled I was rather glad. Harriet 
was a dear, good woman and she deserved the happiness 
311 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

she got. H would not have It known that she 

was a cook — Englishman that he was — and so cir- 
culated the report among his friends that she had come 
out as a companion — and had been good natured 
enough to help in the kitchen. I do not know how 
Harriet got on in her new circle of friends, with her 
carriages and dances and servants, but she was always 
very happy. She had a big new house filled with new 
furniture. " He has even provided new tooth brushes, 
madam ! " she told me proudly, and everything else that 
her heart could desire. But she never lost her head. 
Even on her wedding morning, when I came in to put 
her veil on for her and she had got herself into the 
really beautiful wedding dress he had bought her, with 
the diamond earrings and brooches that had been his 
wedding gift, I found her standing before the glass, 
crying. The wedding party was downstairs already, 
and thinking that It was the actuality of the approach- 
ing change in her life that had affected her, I patted 
her shoulder and told her that she could not help being 
as happy as she was good. 

" Oh, It Is n't that, madam," she exclaimed, " thank 
you all the same. It's them jams! I am near sure 
they are going wrong! I couldn't leave you with them 
like that!" 

She took off her dress, put on an apron and, though 
the carriages were waiting, went to the kitchen, and 
inspected and resealed every one of some dozen jars, 
before she would consent to go upstairs again. 

She used to come to see me regularly afterwards, 
312 



PURELY DOMESTIC 

never failing to bring with her some little thing of her 
own making. The last time was when we were prepar- 
ing to leave for England, and she was very much dis- 
tressed. " You are not well, madam," she said, " I don't 
know how you will bear the journey, so I brought you 
a few jars of mincemeat — I made it myself! " 

Her departure brought Don Justo Naranjo — Sir 
Just Orange — into the kitchen, and, with him for an 
assistant, a boy whom I only knew as Juan. Between 
them they did very well, though Juan gave us at least 
one adventure which was rather fatiguing. 

Don Justo would not go to the market himself while 
there was any one else to send, and so the duty fell upon 
Juan, who was consequently entrusted with the market 
money, sometimes as much as forty or fifty dollars. 

One afternoon I received word through Willis that 
Juan had not returned. He had gone out very early, 
in the best of health and spirits — and with about fifty 
dollars (one hundred "pesos") . It was now three o'clock 
in the afternoon. Don Justo had not wished to disturb me 
until it was absolutely necessary, but he was growing ner- 
vous. I wasted no time, but went to Hugh and laid the 
matter before him. The police, I said, must be roused. 

" Very well," said Hugh, blotting the letter he was 
writing. " We will go and rouse them. The walk 
will do you good, my dear." 

I had not expected this, but I was feeling very much 

better, and, knowing that a personal visit might bring 

the guardians of the law out of their usual lethargy, I 

got ready. We had never before been under the neces- 

313 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

sity of interviewing the police personally, and It was only 
when we were out In the street that we discovered 
that the nearest police station was In an entirely dif- 
ferent quarter of the town and a very long way off. 
I suggested a cab, though cabs were scarce In Santiago. 
We could send for one, I said. But no. Hugh had come 
out for a walk and he was going to have one. Square 
after square we crossed, street after street, and I was 
nearly ready to sit down on the pavement when, at last, 
we came upon the station. The Inspector, when I told 
him our story — Hugh, by the way, though he knew 
Spanish perfectly, became afflicted with the same com- 
plaint as Clara soon after we landed, and Insisted upon 
being Interpreted — was, first of all, considerably, though 
very respectfully, amused at the Idea of the British Min- 
ister, not to mention the British Minister's wife, having 
come all that way on foot to Inquire about a miserable 
kitchen boy. But when I went on to say that the latter 
had a hundred pesos the amusement vanished. He could 
understand the anxiety over the pesos very well — that 
part of It was perfectly natural. He would put the net 
of his police over the city, he assured us. He would 
drag It to the depths, and the boy should be recovered If 
he were alive. " He may have been murdered though," 
he added, pursing his mouth. " Such things have hap- 
pened In my experience — yes, indeed! " I should think 
they had! Manslaughter is as common as stealing In the 
capital of Chile. 

It was the next evening that a policeman appeared at 
the door, leading Juan, very grimy and blear-eyed, by 
314 



PURELY DOMESTIC 

the ear. He had been discovered in some horrible den 
— without, of course, a penny piece, and this was his 
excuse : 

" As I started to the market, Seiiora, I felt a little 
sickness in the — with respect — the stomach — and I 
stopped at a chemist's to alleviate the pain. The as- 
sassin gave me something in a glass, and, before all the 
saints, I remember no more until this kind gentleman 
woke me up an hour ago." 

I wanted to dismiss him, but Hugh said that it would 
do the boy no particular good to turn him out, and 
that we should have to get some one else. Besides, 
they were all equally dishonest and unreliable, and so 
Juan stayed. 

Later, he developed into a really excellent cook. He 
had ambitions, and if a single dish of his were untasted 
he would mope for half a day. This sentiment of his 
got me into trouble more than once, for Juan, when the 
dinner was brought up, would hide himself behind the 
curtains of the dining-room door to see for himself what 
happened to his creations. On Good Friday of one year, 
Sir Just Orange being on leave, Juan cooked the dinner 
and, as usual, stole upstairs and hid behind the cur- 
tains. It was a maigre dinner, of course, but Juan had 
seized a chance to give his ambitions an opportunity 
and had displayed himself in seven or eight different 
dishes. I knew he was behind the door, and I did not 
want either to hurt his feelings or dampen his ardour, 
so, although I was not in the least hungry, I attempted 
to sample every one. 

315 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Presently I caught sight of Hugh's face, and the 
growing gloom of it told me that something was badly 
amiss. Willis wore a haggard look, too, and the only 
person who did not seem to be under the general influ- 
ence was the footman. 

Not a word did Hugh say as dish succeeded dish, 
and, as long as Willis remained behind his chair, I could 
not ask any questions. So the meal went on, the silence 
growing thicker and thicker. It chanced that day that 
Juan had seen fit to crown his efforts with a genuine 
English pudding, something without which, in the ordi- 
nary course of events, Hugh would not have thought 
himself to have either lunched or dined, and I, praying 
that the crisis would soon be over, took a tiny piece. 
That was the fuse. Hugh began, and, as Willis instantly 
found something to do elsewhere, I got the full 
benefit of his stored-up wrath. " And this," he said, 
" is what you call a meal for Good Friday? I thought 
that Catholics made some attempt, at least, to set the 
day apart ! I have never seen such a lack of all decent 
feeling in my life. That cook — of course he is a Catho- 
lic too — knows no better, but you — I am shocked and 
astonished! " 

So was I, but it was no good saying so. Once 
Hugh got on to that subject there was no arguing or 
pleading with him. His views were deeply rooted in 
the heavy soil of the early " walnut and antimacassar " 
period and, the soul of sweetness and reasonableness 
in every other relation of life, let that topic creep into 
any discussion and he was another person in an instant. 
316 



1 



PURELY DOMESTIC 

It was an hour, that day, before I persuaded him that 
the whole thing was not a premeditated insult to Holy 
Week, especially prepared by myself and Juan and that 
my only fault had been one of kindheartedness. 

I remember in London a still more trying occasion 
soon after our arrival from Rome and just before we left 
for Chile. We were in lodgings, and one Sunday after- 
noon, I was sitting by the window, wondering whether 
the interminable day were ever going to end, when, faint 
but distinct, from somewhere below came the sound of 
a bell. I started, and glanced at Hugh, sitting on the 
other side of the room, patiently and laboriously wading 
through a Sunday Journal. Now, in the cities from 
whence I had come and where, until then, I had lived 
most of my life, a bell in the street meant only one 
thing — the procession of the Host. I had only just 
come to London; I had never been there since my child- 
hood, and I was an utter stranger to its habits. I did not 
attempt to think of any other meaning. The bell came 
closer, and I continued to regard Hugh, my heart in my 
mouth and my knees trembling, for I was resolved to pay 
the Blessed Sacrament its due. I would kneel, if I were 
pitched out into the street for it. Hugh continued to 
plod through the paper he was reading, as the bell 
came closer and closer, and then, just as I was about to 
slip to my knees, he looked up. I do not know whether 
he had any idea of what was in my mind or not, but he 
glanced out of the window and then back at me. " Ah — 
muffins! " he said, and fell to his reading again. In an- 
other moment, he would have caught me kneeling to the 
317 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

muffin bell! I should not have heard the last of it for 
years. 

It was not very long after we had settled down in 
Santiago that I made up my mind to have the English 
servants given some idea, however rudimentary, of the 
language of the people amongst whom they were living. 
Hugh, as it has been said, knew Spanish, but quite refused 
to condescend to its employment. I picked up a smatter- 
ing of it, before long, but it seemed to me that unless 
some one besides myself in the establishment could speak 
and write it, we were in danger of all sorts of compli- 
cations. So I sent for a tutor and ordered Willis and 
Harriet and Clara to attend classes. They had no great 
objection at first. Any excuse for doing nothing was a 
boon, and so they gave an hour a day to the little Chileno 
schoolmaster. Once or twice, as the weeks went on, it 
struck me that he looked rather done up, and, at last, 
I asked him if all were well. 

" Sefiora," he said, " of your graciousness you have 
employed me to teach the Senor Willis and the two 
Sefioritas our tongue, but — I have struggled with my- 
self, Sefiora — I cannot take your good money any more. 
I have done my best to earn it, but I am only a man. My 
poor brains are not equal to the task. No doubt the 
Seiior Willis means well," he added. 

So another of my attempts to do good to others failed, 
but, like the " Sefior Willis," I also meant well. 

Clara, who, in spite of her hot temper and her love of 
amusement, had nursed me devotedly through many ill- 
nesses, finally decided to marry an Irishman, a very good 
318 



PURELY DOMESTIC 

fellow, whose only failing, in her eyes, was his obstinate 
attachment to his Church. She described his ultimatum, 
on this point, with little snorts of fury. 

" You know. Madam, he has been pestering me for 
months to marry him, and when at last I did consent, 
what do you think he said? ' That 's all right. We '11 be 
married as soon as ever Mrs. Fraser can let you go. But 
first of all, my girl, you must go to the Priest.' ' I '11 do 
nothing of the sort! ' says I. 'Oh yes, you will,' says 
he. ' Devil a bit do I marry a heretic ! ' So I told him 
to go about his business — but oh, I do love him, and 
whatever I am going to do without him, I don't know! 
He takes it all that quiet, too ! Says I am sure to come, 
sooner or later, and he 's got a house — it 's almost fur- 
nished now! He's a beautiful carpenter — oh dear, oh 
dear!" 

"Why are you so afraid of our religion?" I asked, 
knowing that poor Clara had none of her own. 

" I just can't and won't go to Confession," she an- 
swered hotly, " and that 's an end of it ! " 

Very soon, however, she mustered up courage to go 
and have a talk with her lover's particular Padre, and 
returned much comforted. " There 's one thing about 
Catholics, anyway," she informed me, " they can't 
divorce their wives because they go and take fancies to 
other women ! If I do marry Lawrence, he 's mine for 
all time." 

A few weeks later a very happy and smiling Clara was 
received into the Church (of which, let me say, she be- 
came a most faithful member), and soon afterwards, in 
319 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

my best garden-party frock and with my own lace veil on 
her pretty head, she and " Lawrence " were made man 
and wife. This was only a few days before our own 
departure from Chile, and the kind-hearted girl cut short 
her honeymoon to come and pack up for me. After 
telling me of all her husband's goodness to her, she went 
on to say, " And if you could just see my house, Madam! 
It's perfect^ and he made every single thing himself! " 
Then looking at me with evident pity, she added, 
" What do people do who don't marry carpenters f ^^ 

I lost sight of Clara in after years. If this book falls 
into her hands, let it tell her that I have never forgotten 
her and have often wished to hear from her again. 



320 



XIV 

IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

Sarah Bernhardt in Santiago — The Luxury of Tears — A Paternal Impres- 
ario and a Forsaken Opera Company — Dangers of Dining Out — The 
Nitrate War — The Arbitration Courts — An Official Surprise — The 
<' Impartial" Brazilian — "Think of Our Wives and Families!" — 
The Cholera Comes over the Passes — Death Traps in the Andes — Two 
Errors of Judgment — A Gruesome Caller — Senor B.'s Brilliant Idea — 
Santiago Apaches — A Discriminating Thief — Those Honest Policemen ! 

SOCIETY, — respectable, unojBicial society in Santi- 
ago, and all over Chile, for that matter, is divided 
into two camps, the extremely pious and the merely 
pious, and there was a distinct flutter when it was an- 
nounced that Sarah Bernhardt proposed to enliven the 
winter season with a series of her best known plays, 
which, I suppose, she imagined to be admirably adapted 
to the climatic conditions — the divine one's favourites, 
in fact. The extremely pious, who had, of course, only 
heard of the wonder of the age by hearsay, would not 
have put foot inside a theatre to see a per'son of such, 
let us say, precarious, character for all the money in the 
country, but the others, many of whom had seen Paris, 
if not Bernhardt, were crazy with excitement. True 
Latins, it was not so much the artistic treat they desired, 
as the opportunity to weep, and they knew that Sarah was 
an infallible tear producer. 

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REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

Of these, my friend Mercedes was a fair specimen. 
Perfectly happy in her own well-ordered life, she had 
never touched the hem of sorrow's garment, but I know, 
for she boasted of it, that she was never supremely happy 
until she had found something to cry over. I remember, 
once, she burst into the drawing-room, her eyes stream- 
ing, and tossed a book which I had lent her some days 
before, down on the sofa. 

" What is it, my dear? " I asked, with ready sympathy, 
" what has happened? " But Mercedes only wept afresh 
on the arm of the sofa where she had followed the book. 
I was intensely concerned, and, sitting beside her, at- 
tempted some sort of consolation; but Mercedes had, 
as the sailors say, " too much way on her " to be stopped 
at once and it was all of five minutes before she lifted 
her head and mopped away her tears with her glove. 

" It is too beautiful! " she sobbed brokenly, " it is the 
most beautiful thing I ever dreamt of." 

" What is, my dear? " I asked gently, " and if it, what- 
ever it is, is so beautiful, why should you weep your heart 
out over it? " 

"Weep — but — " she stared at me, "of course I 
weep, I have never enjoyed anything so much as that 
book — It is the work of a genius — I have been crying 
over it all the morning! " 

Sarah, as always, justified herself. I was living then 
in a wheel chair or nothing then would have kept me 
away, and when Mercedes appeared the morning after 
" La Dame aux Camellias " I knew she had revelled in a 
paradise hitherto closed to her. 
322 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

" Ask me not ! " she cried. " It is not a thing to speak 
of. I saw it only dimly. I was overcome. I cried twelve 
pocket handkerchiefs full — I was in heaven! " 

It was the measure of her estimation of the actress's 
talents. That she had thought of taking twelve handker- 
chiefs with her beforehand, spoke volumes. It was as 
fine a tribute as the Bernhardt ever received, and I was 
sorry that she could not hear of it. 

Speaking of theatres reminds me of an experience 
which our Italian colleague underwent soon after. An 
opera company, travelling under, apparently, the most 
reputable auspices, was committed to his good offices by 

some friends in Italy, and C , delighted with the 

idea of hearing his native music again and of showing 
the Chilenos what real opera was, made us all promise 
to patronise the company and imbue the natives with its 
desirability. 

The Company came, some fifty or sixty strong, in- 
cluding " Ballerinas," all under the management of and 
carefully chaperoned by a suave, well-mannered, soberly- 
dressed Roman, — an artist, and, as far as any one could 
see, a person of responsibility and importance in his own 
world. With touching solicitude for the morals of the 
little ballet girls, he invariably accompanied them wher- 
ever they went, and, as they always went about together, 
it may be understood that his hands were full. 

But his praiseworthy vigilance never relaxed, nor did 

he so much as complain when the corps de ballet, thirty 

or thirty-five strong, suggested an occasional, and more 

than occasional, restaurant. " What would you have ! " 

323 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

he would say, when complimented upon his good nature. 
"These young ladies are under my care. Children — 
mere children. They must have their little amusement, 
you understand — it is natur'e ! " They became an in- 
stitution after a while — and the opera was good. 

The denouement came at the very end of the season, 

and C woke up one morning to find the entire 

opera company — minus its paternal manager — at the 
front door, demanding justice and breakfast. How the 
man had gone was never discover'ed, but he had van- 
ished, with, needless to say, the cash-box, and that at a 
moment when there was not a ship in the harbour of 
Valparaiso which would have taken him anywhere. Nor 
could any signs of his departure be found at the rail- 
way station. Nothing at all like him had been seen. 
He had simply dematerialised himself into thin air. 

As a result C had to keep his forsaken company 

fed and housed for a month and more, before he could 
embark them on a home-bound ship, and, for once in a 
way got some real work to do. For the care of fifty or 
sixty people in such a city as Santiago is a business by 
itself. C was rather pleased with the mild ex- 
citement, for the principals kept themselves to themselves 
and left him free to chaperon the ballet, which he did 
with industry. "To them" (the principals), he told 
me, " it is a rehearsal in tragedy — they develop new 
effects every day. But to the little Ballerinas — all that 
I have to do is to take them in a body to a restaurant 
and provide them with macaroni and the horrible wines 
of the country — and behold they laugh and sing like 
324 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

little birds. If I were not there to prevent it, I believe 
they would dance on the tables ! " 

Speaking of the extremely and the merely pious, I 
forgot to say, that my friend Mercedes had one of the 
former as a companion — a link, so to speak, with serious 
things — for Mercedes was not over serious. A young 
woman was this companion, and of a very real piety, 
one, indeed, that verged on sanctity. Her, Mercedes 
took to see Bernhardt in the Dame aux Camellias! The 
girl, fortunately for^ her, did not understand much of 
dialogue, but even so, a great deal of the story was plain 
enough, and, with the daylight, Mercedes told me, she 
flew to her confessor. That, to Mercedes' way of think- 
ing, crowned the event with glory. Twelve handker- 
chiefs full of tears — and her companion so affected that 
only a Priest could restore her to herself! 

Piety takes strange directions with some people. I 
remember two old ladies — perhaps they were not really 
old, but everything is a matter of comparison — both 
devotees and both as sincere in their devotion as ordinary 
human beings could be. In one, however, it took the 
shape of asceticism. She wore nothing but black, abjured 
finery, ate sparingly, and never appeared in the world at 
all. In the other, it became a cheerful good-nature which 
seized eagerly on such harmless pleasures as pretty clothes 
and entertainments for herself, and spilt itself over in 
providing cheer for others. The result was that the 
ascetic was always fearful of the results of self indulgence 
on her sister's soul, and the other was equally fearful of 
the possibilities of Pharisaism on that of the ascetic. 
325 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

The anxiety was genuine, too, for they loved each other 
dearly, but, at times, it came near to spoiling both of their 
lives. 

Society, in our sense of the word, there was none, ex- 
cept that of the Corps Diplomatique. The natives sel- 
dom invited us to any functions and we, consequently, 
did not invite them. True, the very rich and distin- 
guished occasionally gave a dinner party, but those fear- 
ful affairs were, thank Heaven! few and far between. 
There was also the once-a-year lunch which the President 
gave the Corps, but, as he disliked them, and they, with- 
out an exception, returned the compliment, the official 
functions were confined to them. 

The Chilean dinner was usually eaten five or half- 
past, but when Europeans were invited, it was put off 
until the European hour", by which time the family was 
half famished. The Season, if such it may be called, was 
a winter one, which helped not a little to make the occa- 
sion a serious risk at times. The houses are built around 
patios, there is a total absence of any artificial heat, and 
the rooms are draught traps. Despite all this, one had to 
put on evening dress, and, after gathering in the drawing- 
room on one side of the patio, cross the court-yard in the 
open air, without any wraps over our bare shoulders, to 
the dining-room on the other. The kitchen, as invariably, 
was on another side, so that when the door was opened 
and shut, the night air romped through the room. Ac- 
cepting invitations to dinner, it can be seen, was accepting 
a considerable risk, and one unfortunate foreigner, an 
Italian, nearly died of pneumonia in consequence, while 
326 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

we were there. The dinner itself was very elaborate, but 
the chef d'oeuvre was almost always the same. This con- 
sisted of a clear jelly, In which was Imbedded a number of 
naked china dolls. The effect of these little white corpses 
taken In conjunction with the walk across the patio was 
rather startling — they assumed a certain significance! 
At other times flowers were substituted, but even these, 
pretty as they were, had a cold, waxy, memento-morl 
look. 

I have known many nations that ate heartily, not to 
say greedily, but the Chilenos are alone In the consump- 
tion of solid food. They went through every course 
from soup to sweets, and often an extra dish of their 
own besides, spar'ing nothing. At lunch, when that was 
done, a savoury was brought on — a digestif — of red 
beefsteak in the ration of a pound to a person, and what 
is more, they ate It up. 

When the women had retired across the patio to the 
drawing-room, tea was br'ought. At this stage the chil- 
dren upstairs were wakened — for tea is a rite — to 
drink the stewed, sugary stuff. More than once I have 
seen babies of four and five years old sleeping under the 
table In the drawing-room like puppies when we came in. 
Their mothers did not see the use of putting them to bed 
only to awaken them again. Yet they must have the 
evening tea, therefore they stayed up. Later when the 
men came back, and an ordinary party would have broken 
up, the servants relaid the dining table with all the re- 
mains of the dinner, and we were marshalled back across 
the patio with the same partners. There we resumed 
327 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the same seats we had occupied before and had to pretend 
another appetite, while the hostess and her friends ate 
as though they had not dined at all. 

That same beefsteak is the invariable accompaniment 
of every meal from breakfast onward. The women go 
straight from their beds to Mass, A skirt is thrown on, 
and, for the rest, the long Spanish veil cover's them over, 
and one does not ask what is beneath. Breakfast comes 
at ten-thirty, and they do not wait to dress before sat- 
isfying their appetites. This begins with Casuela, a 
soup covered with a special and rather repulsive yellow 
grease, and full of mangled chicken, which was alive and 
hearty when the women left the house. I know very 
few things quite so unappetising as that same Casuela. 
Afterwards two or three dishes, and the pound of steak 
to each person, child or adult. The lunch or " las onces " 
(eleven o'clock) is at two as a rule, and this is a succes- 
sion of cold meats and sweets, and then beefsteak again. 
The supper is at five-thirty, and we have seen what that 
is made of. Altogether they consume three huge meat 
meals in seven hours, to say nothing of tea, which is a 
meal in itself. 

Of course rheumatism is endemic. I have known chil- 
dren of five years old to be completely bedridden. 



The chief reason for our having been sent to Chile 
was that the choice had fallen on my husband to com- 
plete the settling of the claims resulting from the war 
328 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

between Chile and Peru and Bolivia, and I think a few 
words on that now forgotten subject will not be out of 
place. 

The war was due to the exploitation of nitrate of soda 
in the desert of Atacama, and has, in consequence, gone 
down to history as the nitrate war. The name has, at 
least, the somewhat unusual merit of frankness, but, look- 
ing behind the object, one meets the invariable reason 
of all wars that have ever been fought since the begin- 
ning of time. One party to it — Chile — was healthy, 
strong, and prosperous; the others — Peru and Bolivia 
— were weak, bankrupt and desperate, and when those 
ideal conditions exist, one reason is generally as good as 
another. 

After the end of the war with Spain, in 1866, a con- 
vention between Chile and Bolivia threw the desert open 
to both to exploit in common, though all concessions for 
exploitation were to be granted by the Bolivian Govern- 
ment — an arrangement which was a solid guarantee of 
trouble, as soon as either one or the other felt equal to 
it. All that was needed was a match to light the bonfire, 
and this was provided by Peru in 1878, when, financially 
exhausted and on the extreme edge of bankruptcy — her 
guano deposits were pledged as security for the foreign 
debt in 1875, and only her hopelessly inadequate internal 
revenue was left — she devised an export dut)' on nitrate 
of soda. This, of course, brought her output into com- 
petition with the untaxed product of Chile and, by con- 
sequence, the European ships deserted the Peruvian and 
flocked to Chilean ports. Peru, with ruin staring her in 
329 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

the face demanded that Bolivia tax her nitrates in 
Atacama and BoHvia yielded, thereby breaking her treaty 
of 1874 with Chile. Chile, strong and ready, was only 
too glad of the chance, and war followed. 

After the treaty of Ancon, courts were formed in 
Santiago to deal with the claims of foreign subjects in 
the ceded provinces of Tacua, Arica, and Tarapaca — 
one court for every country concerned. These were com- 
posed of three members, the Head of the Mission, a 
Chilean Judge, and, as a final and unbiased arbitrator, 
a Brazilian. The three provinces had been ravaged 
and pillaged in the gentle fashion of South American 
warfare and a mountain of claims awaited each court, 
some genuine, many fraudulent, but all requiring the 
closest investigation. Besides and beyond all these, the 
holders of the Peruvian nitrate bonds in London and 
elsewhere were howling for their money, and when it is 
borne in mind that Chile had annexed a large part of the 
Peruvian nitrate fields without, as yet, assuming any 
obligation towards the holders of the bonds, the cries — 
to any one acquainted with the psychological make-up of 
the average British investor — can be Imagined. 

It is curious, too, that of all people, the British, proud, 
and rightly so, of their coolness and their strength and 
theii' sanity, should, immediately the question of a divi- 
dend, however small, is concerned, lose every one of their 
national attributes; yet it is so. The Englishman is apt 
to be somewhat scornful of Transatlantic nervousness and 
" brain-storm." He will not demean himself by entering 
his office before nine or staying a moment after three 
330 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

unless he is held down In his chair; while as for discuss- 
ing business at lunch, he would as soon eat in public in 
bathing clothes, and I, for one, would be the very last to 
encourage him to break any of those excellent habits of 
mind. But have you, my dear reader, ever been present at 
a meeting of British stockholders? Have you ever seen 
the badgered chairman moisten his lips and steady himself 
against the table while he announces to the gathering, a 
drop, however small, however necessary. In the year's 
dividends? On the other hand, have you ever seen a 
meeting of American stockholders? Perhaps a dozen 
people present, perhaps less? The business carried on 
in monosyllables, a dividend doubled or wiped out with a 
nod of the head? Every Individual stockholder so confi- 
dent of the wisdom of the person to whom he has given 
his stock to vote that he would not cross the street to be 
present? It gives one to think, sometimes. 

To return to the nitrate bonds. One simultaneous yell 
went out from England. Suggestions poured in with 
every mail — suggestions not untinged with abuse. 
Hugh was very patient, and his Highland ancestry 
had given him a sense of humour, that sword of the 
afflicted, grim and keen, against whose edge the storm 
burst in vain. 

To be sure, every representative expects the same 
treatment from his countrymen and most of them are 
steeled against It by the approval, whether spoken or not, 
of their official superiors. After all, a little abuse is no 
bad advertisement sometimes, and it has happened that 
discontented people, sick of their posts and worried as 
331 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

to their chances of recognition, have been known deliber- 
ately to stir things up in order to bring the eyes of the 
Permanent Under Secretary upon themselves. That 
dispenser of posts, maker of ambassadors, framer of 
policies, that Czar, in short, of the service — more 
powerful than any Secretary of State and infinitely more 
knowledgeable — does not figure either in the Press or 
in the House, and the reason is not far to seek. He is 
much too busy. But he is absolute Lord of the depart- 
ment. He it is who sees to it that, whatever be the party 
in power, and however often the fickle wind of popular 
opinion may shift, the great ship shall keep its course. 

We were surprised, however (a distraction not often 
afforded to us), by a communication from a personage 
high up in the service itself, who, it appeared, had been 
dabbling in Peruvian nitrate bonds, a practice stringently 
forbidden to officials and for the best of reasons. He had 
kept the fact very quiet up till then, but the prospect of 
having his pocket touched overcame even his fear of the 
P. U. S.'s wrath and he poured out his soul in bitter 
reproaches — on official paper. Hugh was rather a 
queer person in some ways. When he might be expected, 
and reasonably, to lose his temper, he would be quite 
likely either to laugh, or to display a gentleness so utterly 
impersonal and yet so understanding, so sympathetic, and 
so selfless, that one looked up to him with a certain awe, 
as not being entirely of this world. At others, a trifle, 
unnoticed by any one else, would stir that Scotch nature to 
its depths, and for days he would brood over it, never 
speaking. One was left to conjecture what it might 
22>^ 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

have been, but one never, never found out — except by 
accident. 

This time he did not laugh. His sense of discipline 
was outraged. What he said in his answer I can only 
imagine, but I have an idea that all the things he would 
have liked to have been able to say to all the others, all 
the stored-up bitterness which he felt for the Brazilian 
arbitrator on the Court of Claims, and the Chilean Gov- 
ernment — everything that he felt for everybody, was 
compressed into it, because he went about his business 
afterwards with the lightened mien of a man who has 
taken a moral cooling draft. 

The rancour of the recipient followed us about for 
years afterwards, but a little more or less of that from 
any quarter we should hardly have noticed, I am afraid. 
When a man is being lampooned in every paper in the 
city in which he is living, when he has faced and over- 
borne envy, injustice, and uncharity at home and abroad, 
he gets careless of the venom of individuals. I do not 
think Hugh would have been happy if he had been popu- 
lar. He would have thought himself to have failed, in 
some respect, of his duty. 

I spoke just now of the Brazilian member — the 
supposedly unbiased arbitr'ator. Whoever it was who 
picked on the Brazilian for a post like that, must have 
been a humourist of parts. In our own court, it was the 
Chilean who turned out to be the unbiased party, and 
thanks to his unshakable uprightness, the Brazilian was 
no more than a dummy at the board. The latter lived 
in constant fear of the inhabitants of Santiago, and he 
333 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

could not be induced to agree with anything that Hugh 
(at that time, probably the best hated man in South 
America) said or did. For some time Hugh and the 
Chilean bore with him, striving, always in vain, to im- 
plant a seed of courage and honesty in his heart. The 
soil was too mean, however, and they had to abandon It 
at last and get along without him, he protesting to every- 
one that Hugh was a bully and a tyrant and the good 
Chilean a corrupt traitor. 

Besides the three members, every court had its secre- 
taries — and nicer, easier, better paid pieces of jobbery 
never existed. Everything that they could do to drag 
out the proceedings was done — at several thousand 
pesos a year. 

For two years Hugh endured it, while claim filed on 
claim. Of all, perhaps one in thirty was honest, and two, 
after the miasma of perjury had been cleared away, de- 
batable. In one typical case, a landed proprietor in Peru 
swore on the Scriptures that he had legally transferred 
his entire estate to the English governess of his children, 
long before the war. In another, it was solemnly sworn 
— but with tears, that on account of the generosity and 
love that Britain had always shown to Peru, a rancher 
had given everything that he possessed to his English 
butter-maker, also before the war! 

For two years Hugh bore with it, and then, seeing 
that unless a halt was called the Court would have to sit 
indefinitely — he had besides the whole business of the 
Legation to handle — he announced that the majority of 
the Court, — himself and the Judge, — had decided to 
334 



AT A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

compromise the rest of the claims for one hundred thous- 
and dollars. 

The first visitor he received the next morning was the 
Secretary of the Board, an Englishman, almost hysteri- 
cal with the shock. " But you are taking the bread out of 
our mouths, Mr. Eraser!" he pleaded, "think of our 
wives and families. Why, I assure you, we could keep 
this going for years — years, sir! It makes no difference 
to the Government at home — it is only a tiny little sum 
which they will never miss — and to us it means every- 
thing! Let me beg of you, sir, to reconsider your 
decision." 

The " tiny little sum " was three thousand pounds a 
year. 

It was at about this time that Santiago had its first 
experience of cholera. The scourge came in with a drove 
of cattle from Argentina, some of whose herders were 
infected. Why it had not happened before is difficult to 
understand when the habits, civic and domestic, of the 
Chileans are considered. Two of the herders died on the 
top of the mountain where the cattle were rested, and 
the remainder came in, bringing the dread visitor with 
them. 

Any one seeing the passes over which travel moves be- 
tween the two countries would believe It to be impossible 
to drive cattle through them at all. The only road is a 
rocky path, perhaps three feet wide at the best; In 
places there is not room for two people to pass one 
another. There are dark stories about the road when 
men, far on their way, and anxious to push on, have met 
33S 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

in the passes and decided the matter with their knives 
rather than turn back. It is told how a party — few 
people care to undertake that journey alone — passing 
a turn in the rock, saw an object sticking out of a cleft 
high above their heads. So far up was it that at first 
they could not make it out, until one of them, in a scared 
voice, cried out that it was a boot — and a boot it was, but 
how, they asked each other, could a human being have 
climbed up that far ! The thing was impossible — utterly 
impossible. Fascinated, they stood there staring until, 
after some time had been spent, a dot appeared in the 
sky above them, circling down, which, as it approached, 
resolved itself into a huge condor that swooped down upon 
the protruding boot and settled there, glaring down at 
them. The mystery was solved and they hurried on their 
way, shuddering. 

To return to the cholera. Santiago was true to its 
traditions. The doctors did what they could with the 
strange horror when they realised it, but it was too new 
and too appalling for them at first. It lit on the city in 
a night and the city hugged it to its bosom. There were 
no drains in Santiago and the hygiene was that of Carth- 
age. The favourite diet of all classes was raw fruit and 
aguardiente. In a week the burial carts were out — 
open carts, whose drivers mingled freely with the rest of 
the world. No attempt was made for a long time to 
isolate, and when the order went out nobody paid any 
particular attention to it. 

To us, who had lived so long in the East, the thing 
was no stranger, and, as soon as the first symptoms ap- 
336 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

peared in the town we took our precautions with the 
practised accuracy of an evolution. All raw fruit was 
confiscated, the water boiled, medicines prepared, the filthy- 
paper money baked in an oven, and a state of siege pro- 
claimed. Every day I used to go through the house, 
into every nook and corner, to find out what contraband 
the servants had smuggled in over night. They were all 
offenders, but my English Clara was the worst. That 
well-brought-up person — she was educated for a school 
mistress — listened with deep and respectful attention 
to my sermons, and was at all times ready to denounce 
the stupidity and wickedness of the native domestics. 
They were ignorant people from whom nothing else was 
to be expected. I believed in her implicitly until I looked 
into her bedroom one day, when I discovered an enor- 
mous watermelon hidden under the bed, and never after- 
wards when I made my rounds did I fail to find one — 
always under the bed. 

After a while the Government instituted a series of 
lectures to try and make the public understand some- 
thing of the nature of the infection and the more ele- 
mentary defences against its spread. But without much 
success. The Chilean of the lower classes is not quick 
of understanding. On one of these occasions, when the 
lecture had finished, an old peasant got up in the back of 
the hall and, being invited to speak, called out, " Doctor, 
tell me now what kind of a bird this cholera is, so that 
I may know it when it comes ! I am a good shot, a very 
good shot — and I will kill It." 

At another time, when the lecturer was explaining the 
337 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

necessity of placing a cordon of police around the in- 
fected quarters, he was asked by a woman present if he 
could give her a little bit of cordon which she could tie 
around the house and so keep away the plague. She 
thought it to be a sort of charm. 

Then the medical students, filled with misguided en- 
thusiasm, took to visiting houses on their own account 
to rout out stricken ones. Discovering a woman, evi- 
dently very ill, in her bed, they pulled her out, disregard- 
ing her entreaties, and hurried her off to the hospital 
in a cart. This was some distance away, the cart had no 
springs, and the road was rough. Her groans and suppli- 
cations continued until they reached the door of the 
hospital and lifted her from the cart, when she fell down 
on the pavement and — gave birth to a baby. 

A short time afterwards they came one evening upon 
what they took to be a corpse in the street. Nobody 
wanted to waste any time on it, so they slid it into the 
death cart and resumed their journey to the lime pits 
where the corpses were buried, threw it in with the rest,, 
and emptied a bucket of chloride of lime over it. Imagine 
their feelings when it woke up, cursing like a maniac and 
scrabbling at the sides of the pit! The "corpse" had 
been hopelessly drunk and was lying down to sleep it 
off when they found him. The lime on face and hands 
had recalled the sleeper to consciousness ! 

At last the authorities woke up to the danger of 

aguardiente, and decreed the destruction of all that 

could be found. It was declared to be a public danger,. 

and the emissaries of the city council started on their 

33^ 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

rounds. At every place where they came upon it, they 
brought the casks out into the street and tapped them. 
Santiago was one wild debauch for a week. The streets 
were running with spirits. 

For two years the cholera raged and then, satiated with 
victims, passed on; but not before the gentle inhabitants 
had had an opportunity of showing their feelings for 
Hugh. One dark night a cart drew up before the Lega- 
tion and, when the door was opened, a man in filthy 
clothes, reeking of disinfectants, attempted to enter. 
Being asked what he wanted, he seemed surprised. " I 
have come for the British Minister," he said, " let me in." 
" But what do you want of him? " asked the terrified ser- 
vant. " I want to take him away," replied the other, " do 
not attempt to interfere with me or you will suffer for it." 
" Take him away," stammered the servant, " but what 
do you mean? " " I am the collector of corpses," was the 
answer. " They told me that he was dead of the cholera 
and that I was to take him off with the others — there 
is the dead cart right there! " 

Hugh laughed, as he was told, and seemed to find it 
quite amusing, but I did not get over the effect of it for a 
long time. 

The more civilised inhabitants of Santiago, indeed, the 
better class all over the country, loved to speak of the 
capital city as the Paris of South America. If Paris is 
the place where all good North Americans go when they 
die, it is the place where all good — /. e. rich — South 
Americans go when they are alive. It is the Valhalla 
of the struggling merchant and the sanctuary of the 
339 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

distressed president. Not a person in high places, stealing 
judiciously from the public purse, not a rancher, spend- 
ing summer and winter in the arid country, but dreams 
of it, reads of it, lives for the prospect of it; even to 
possess something, a dress, a hat, a pair of shoes, a tea- 
pot, a piece of linen that came from Paris, is to be a 
source of envy to all. In spite of heavy customs duties, 
everything Parisian, from hats to novels, finds a quick 
sale in Santiago. But the inhabitants, like Gilpin, never 
forget the principles of frugality. They will eat and drink 
and play with the best that Paris affords, when they are 
there, but they will not neglect any chance to recoup them- 
selves, as the following story will show. 

The B.'s, a family of our acquaintance, well-to-do 
financially and politically, at last found themselves able 
to make the journey to their earthly Paradise. They 
desired, without telling anybody, to bring back with 
them a great luxury, a French tutor, the effect of 
which would be to give them a position at home some- 
where a little above the cabinet. Once in Paris, after 
a morning or two amongst the shops, it occurred to Papa 
B. that with a little expenditure of time and money, not 
only could the fares to and from home be paid for, but 
a tidy little profit might be made off of the trip as a whole. 
Knowing his countrymen's passion for everything Paris- 
Ian, and counting on their ignorance of values and 
prices, he set about collecting a pile of odds and ends, 
remnants and clearings of all sorts, from jewelry to hand- 
kerchiefs, paying particular attention to " plaque " and 
gaudy porcelain. In a very short while he had accumu- 
340 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

lated all that he could carry and then, secure and content, 
turned his attention to pleasure. 

When, months afterwards, they returned and settled 
down once more in the family palatio, they sent out 
cards inviting their acquaintances to a sale of Parisian 
goods specially brought over by Senor B. for the benefit 
of his friends. It was so put, I remember, that the 
entire burden of obligation rested on the acquaintances' 
shoulders for the Seiior B.'s unheard-of thoughtfulness — 
It takes a Latin to do it. Of course everybody attended, 
the Diplomatic Corps with all the rest, for false pride 
does not exist down there. There is no leisured class. 
Everybody does something. It was rather a jar at first 
to have a young Englishman brought to me, as a par- 
ticularly eligible person, and, after asking him to dinner 
on one night, to run across him behind a counter on 
the next afternoon, but I very soon got used to It. I 
was not a snob — but I had never had such a thing 
happen to me before. The world I knew moved 
around Its individual countries, services, and affairs. 
It worked as hard as any other, but it worked at other 
things. 

Well, people trooped to the B.'s, as much to see the 
family and hear the account of their adventure as for the 
prospect of picking up something useful. And very few 
were disappointed. Papa B. had not been a successful 
politician for nothing and he had common sense if he had 
not taste. Predominating and gorgeous, were sets of 
plate — " magnifico plaque " as it was called — and these 
disappeared first, being literally scrambled for. Just 
341 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

why, in a country where silver is almost everywhere, 
plated ware should be so desired may seem strange. The 
reason is that the Chilean is the worst and cleverest thief 
in the world. There is nothing that is beyond him, and 
the careful housekeeper feels the risk of having anything 
of great value where a thief may be able to find it. For 
all that, sparkle and glitter are essential, wherefore the 
plate. It is too heavy and profitless for a burglar to 
burden himself with. 

The sale was conducted by the tutor, who was a charm- 
ing young man with a most seductive manner, and, by 
the time he had finished, there was very little left, and 
Papa B. was rubbing his hands and patting the tutor on 
the back. Well he might. He had had his trip. For 
the rest of his life, like the green-turbaned Mohamme- 
dan, he could lift up his head above his fellows, as one 
who had been to Mecca — and he had made a profit 
on It too, besides the continual glory of the French tutor 
in his household. 

Speaking of the thieves. It was, as I have said, and 
probably is still the habit, winter and summer alike, for 
all the population to dress itself up in its best clothes 
after supper and walk for a couple of hours or so around 
the band stand In the Commerclo. In winter It was dark, 
and then the Apaches gathered their harvest. Not so 
much by any gentle pocket-plcking In the Commerclo, but 
in the more lonely streets among stray couples return- 
ing home. On more than one occasion people have been 
found, men and women alike, stripped naked In the street 
with not so much as a shift between them. The favour- 
342 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

ite method, though, is by means of long iishlines to the 
end of which are attached a cluster of enormous hooks. 
These they throw through the gratings of open windows 
of the basements and the ground floor, and the hooks are 
strong enough to bring down curtains or drag cabinets. 
They are as clever with them as a good fisherman with a 
fly and they can empty a room in an incredibly short time, 
as a woman who had incautiously left her baby asleep 
with the window open in the twilight found out. She 
was not away for more than a quarter of an hour, but 
when she returned she found the baby howling with the 
cold, its very blankets taken, and the room as bare as a 
hand. 

A friend of mine told me of one experience she had, 
which made me very cautious of strangers, however re- 
spectable they might seem. Coming in from a drive one 
afternoon, she saw a man, faultlessly attired and of quite 
unexceptionable bearing, walk out of the door as she 
crossed the court. She did not know him, but, as he 
met her eyes with perfect self-possession and bowed to 
her, not too deeply, but as equal bows to equal, she 
imagined that it must be some friend of her husband's, 
who had been to see him. Inside she inquired who had 
called in her absence, and the servant, to her astonish- 
ment, replied that no one had been there at all. " But 
who was the gentleman who had just left?" she asked. 
The servant shook his head. He had seen no one. What 
did the gentleman look like? Of course, he immediately 
conceived that his mistress had seen a ghost, and shut 
the door, which he had been holding open, abruptly. My 
343 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

friend, however, began to suspect something else, and 
went to her husband's room where the valuables of the 
family were kept, tightly locked up in a safe. 

There, when she looked in, she saw a heap of rags 
on the floor, the drawers of the presses open, shirts, 
ties, handkerchiefs tossed in every direction, together 
with coats, waistcoats, and trousers. 

The man had calmly walked in and taken the pick of 
the clothing, without hurrying, and choosing everything 
carefully. He had brushed his hair, washed, and then, 
comfortable and clean, had walked out again. 

The police are no great protection either. It is re- 
corded that, in our predecessor's time, when the Legation 
was in another house, a hole was discovered one morning 
in the basement adobe wall big enough for a man to 
walk through and a further search revealed the fact that 
a large part of the silver had disappeared from the din- 
ing-room. The police were sent for and went diligently 
to work, sympathising deeply and apologising for the 
state of things that permitted of such depredations. 
They were too few, they said, to deal with all the ruffians 
in the city. The people were, as the Excellency knew, 
carelessness itself — actually they were afraid to com- 
plain! Could the Excellency believe it? The Excellency 
could, I have no doubt. For a week the indefatigable 
police worked, measuring the hole and searching for 
clues and, incidentally, being well cared for by the ser- 
vants who regaled them with the Minister's stores, until 
the latter grew tired of their continued presence and went 
into the matter himself. He studied the hole for a 
344 



1 



IN A SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITAL 

while, looking at the marks of the implements, and, pres- 
ently, it struck him that the slashes had been made with 
a blade, not with a knife; they were too long and too 
broad for that. The robber had used a sword — but 
only the police carried swords — the police and soldiers. 
There were no cavalry there at the time, and very few 
infantry. The affair seemed to narrow itself down to 
the police. To have accused them would have been 
somewhat rash, even for so important a person as the 
British Minister, however, and it was only by careful 
inquiry below stairs that the truth was finally brought 
to light. It was the police. 

In the same connection, I remember a little English- 
man who used to keep a grocery shop, I think, and who, 
on occasions of state, would come in and wait at table. 
One night, having finished his work at the Legation, he 
started home with his pay for the evening in his pocket. 
It was late when he left, but there was a moon, and his 
way led through the most civilised part of the town, so 
that he felt reasonably safe against the Apaches who, 
as a rule, did not venture to any great distance from 
their own warrens. But, as he found before he had gone 
very far, there were several kinds of Apaches, some in 
uniform and some out; for two of the former fell upon 
him at the corner of the street and cleared him out com- 
pletely, down to his watch-chain. When the attention 
of the police was drawn to the affair — "drawn" may 
be somewhat inexpressive — they were politely aston- 
ished that a person in his Excellency's position could 
bring such accusations against honest men. They were 
345 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

smitten to the heart by the injustice. As it happened, 
they said, two poHcemen's uniforms had been stolen a 
few days before and the men who had attacked our little 
friend were, of course, the thieves who had taken 
them! 



346 



XV 

SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS AND TRADITIONS 

Treacherous Sisters — The "Toothache" Signal — A Young Diplomatist 
in Guatemala — Forgotten? — An Unauthorised Flight — Remembered 
Music — A Little " Pronunciamento " — The Christmas Fair in Santiago 
— A Tireless Dancer — Turn on the Hose ! — Country Dandies and Their 
Splendours — What the Girls Learn — Strange Funeral Customs — Un- 
explained! — A Were-wolf of the Campagna. 

AS has been already said, the custom of gathering 
all the daughters' husbands and their children 
under one roof, gave rise to developments, sometimes. 
The men, of course, stayed out all day, only returning for 
their meals. Whether they were working or not, out they 
stayed. It was a hard and fast law and, no doubt, a 
very good one. 

Some of the women had a sense of humour, too, 
though it Is a rather rougher one than our own. One 
young friend of mine, recently married, and who, being 
an orphan, was to be taken Into her husband's family, 
told me that, just after her return from her honeymoon, 
her sisters-in-law came to her one morning and sug- 
gested that they should all go to the opera that evening. 
" But," they added, " let us not dress — let us go just as 
we are." She looked from one to the other. Go to the 
opera in morning dress? Lose the one great chance of 
the year of putting on all one's jewels? But they seemed 
347 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

to be perfectly serious, so, for the sake of politeness, 
she acquiesced. " Now you will not dress and put us 
all to shame? " they said, as they went. " I would not 
put you to shame for the world, my dear sisters," she re- 
plied, and they went on their way. 

Not dress? she laughed. The others could look after 
themselves. She was not going to be ridiculous to please 
them or any one else, and when the time came, she put 
on her most beautiful frock, and waited, a blaze of 
jewels, for the signal. " Come on," cried one of the 
sisters, through the door. " The carriage is waiting. 
Put on a shawl and be quick." " I am coming, my dears," 
she called back. " I shall not be a moment." And, when 
she was sure that the other had gone on, she left her 
room and went downstairs, to find her sisters waiting, 
only in the fullest of full dress, and ready to shriek with 
laughter. 

The main characteristic of the Chilean Is an almost 
sumptuous carelessness, a conservatism that makes Russia 
seem a home of progress by comparison, and a pride in 
the pure Spanish blood that is worthy of an Austrian. 

A trace of Irish, to be sure, is esteemed, as well it may 
be when one remembers that it was an O'HIggins who 
liberated them — and many of their names are as Irish 
as their habits. 

To cite an instance of the latter, when a friend of 
ours — none other than the Judge who had sat with Hugh 
on the Court of Claims, built himself a gorgeous new 
palatio, on the very day that the family moved in, it 
rained all night and well into the following morning. One 
348 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

question only was asked of them by their acquaintances 
when they showed themselves in the Commercio that 
evening. " In how many places? " What they wanted 
to know was, in how many places the roof leaked. " Not 
in one," the family cried. " Not in one," they were hon- 
estly prouder of that than of anything that had happened 
to them for a long time. 

Our own roof leaked copiously — like all the others, 
it was made of mud — and when it rained, I had to put 
pans all over the drawing-room to save the carpets. At 
first I used to be rather ashamed of them but, as nobody 
else seemed to notice them, I ceased to worry, after a 
time. 

The worst curse of Chile is that same " aguardiente " 
of which I spoke. In all the countries which I have vis- 
ited, I have seen nothing at all like the drunkenness in 
Santiago. It is taken as a matter of course, and nobody 
seems to think the worse of a man for being overtaken. 

For some time after our arrival, Hugh and I used to 
be puzzled at the prevalence of toothache in the town. 
Every day one would see men in the streets, frock-coated 
and top-hatted, their faces almost hidden by a great hand- 
kerchief tied around their jaws — not one or two or 
occasionally, but half a dozen at a time and on every day 
of the week. Later we found out that it was a signal and 
meant, " I was drinking last night. Do not speak to me ! " 
It was respected, too, by men and women alike. Hugh's 
first sight of it was when he called upon the President. 
After ringing the bell three or four times, he was pre- 
paring to depart, when the door was opened by a villain- 
349 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

ous-looking creature, unshaved and unwashed, in clothes 
that hung on him like tattered sails and with a grimy 
towel tied around his head. Hugh thought he must have 
come to the wrong door, but no. The apparition was 
the President's butler — and the President did not seem 
to notice anything amiss with him. 

These things were more of a shock to me than to 
Hugh, for it was not his first experience of tropical and 
semi-tropical America. Early in his career, after a de- 
lightful time at Copenhagen, the Eye turned for a 
moment in his direction, and decided that he had en- 
joyed himself to the extreme limit permitted a public 
servant of his years and service. It was time to give him 
a glimpse of the other side of the picture, and he was 
transferred to Guatemala, where, his chief instantly 
going on leave, he remained, as representative, or Charge 
d'Affaires, or anything that he chose to call himself, with 
responsibilities in five separate Republics. 

His headquarters were in the new town of Guatemala, 
his staff a native clerk, and his only means of travel was 
a mule. He used to tell me how he would journey from 
capital to capital through the forest, in uniform, cocked 
hat and all, this latter for the benefit of any stray bandits 
that might have been driven there for shelter. . They 
would not touch a foreign representative, in a cocked hat 
and gold lace, though they might have made a mistake 
and cut his throat in mufti. England was a word to con- 
jure with in those times. Of all the powers she was the 
only one who persisted in the reprehensible practice of 
exacting an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. In 
350 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

times of trouble, the number of foreigners, including, it 
must be said, citizens of the United States, who would 
flock to the British Consulates to register their allegiance 
to Queen Victoria was an amazing tribute to the busi- 
ness-like habits of the F. O., in those departed days. 

It was not until a year and a half had sped that a 
dreadful doubt began to enter Hugh's mind. His mail 
grew scantier and scantier. His chief had not returned. 
Appeals for directions were unanswered, and the F. O. 
turned a deaf ear to his suggestions of an exchange. 
They were beginning to forget all about him ! Stories 
came back to him of the fate of other promising young 
diplomatists in similar positions — stories which he had 
enjoyed heartily in the safe legations of Europe. He 
began to brood over his troubles, even going so far as 
to cuff the native clerk at times. At last, he saw plainly 
that his only salvation was to break the shackles of 
discipline and save himself. Whatever trouble he got 
into on his return would be as nothing compared to a 
protracted and neglected existence in Guatemala. So, 
early one morning, before the native clerk appeared, he 
dressed, packed up his things, locked up the Legation, 
put the key under the door, and sailed away for England. 

Arriving, shamefacedly, and, by this time, somewhat 
afraid of the consequences of his precipitancy, he was 
shown into the office of Authority and told his tale. Au- 
thority was Infinitely amused. " Good Lord, my dear 
boy! " it said. " We expected you home ages ago — we 
had no Idea that you would last it out as long as that! " 

But, In spite of the climate and the loneliness, Hugh 
35^ 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

found several things there which were pleasant enough. 
He was of a philosophic temperament and he never 
wasted time and effort In complaint when complaint was 
useless. Later in life he appeared not to notice ordinary 
discomforts and Inconveniences at all. If he did, he never 
allowed any one to know of it. I remember once in Japan, 
when I had been away from the Legation for a couple 
of days, I asked the English butler what he had given 
him for dinner the evening before. " We gave his Ex- 
cellency a very good dinner. Madam," he replied assur- 
ingly, "a real old-fashioned English dinner — boiled 
bacon and cabbage, Madam 1 " and Hugh had never said 
a word! 

At first Hugh thought Guatemala and his new-found 
honours and responsibilities delightful — in the light of 
four pounds a day — and, as soon as his chief had de- 
parted, he determined to carry out his duties and visit 
each of the five Republics under his charge. Having 
been advised by his father to sleep under a mosquito net 
if he wished to avoid fever, — old Sir John had discov- 
ered the secret of malaria, in India, sixty years or more 
before science tumbled upon it by accident, — he kept his 
health, and, altogether, he did not have a bad time, 
despite the scorpions and snakes in the houses where he 
stopped. There were many interesting things to see, and, 
among others, the Copan stone monuments. On these 
he wrote a monograph asserting that the builders were 
Mongolians who crossed over the straits from the north 
and wandered down — a theory, by the way, which has 
lately been upheld by archaeology. 
352 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

It is difficult, at this time of day, to believe it, but when 
he got to Honduras and sent in his card as British Charge 
d'Affaires to the President, or whoever it was who sat 
on the throne, that Dignitary looked it over and then 
burst out: " Who the Devil are you! I never heard of 
any such person ! " He never had, either, and it took 
Hugh some time to explain himself. 

At another place, where he was able to discard the 
mule for a while and arrived in the capital in a stage 
wagon, the waiters rushed out of the hotel with blankets. 
These, it seemed, were to cover up the nakedness of the 
travellers who, thanks to the brigands, arrived, as often 
as not, in a state of nature. 

One thing, he always said, was really delightful, and 
that was when, the glaring day done and the magic of 
the darkness fallen over the city, the young men would 
come out with their guitars and sing to the girls, who 
listened from behind the grilled windows. There it was 
that he got his guitar, which afterwards pr'oved to be 
one of the great comforts of his life, a friend that never 
failed to soothe his soul when it descended into the pit 
of Celtic depression. And the marvellous airs ! I cannot 
remember them, I am afraid, but I know that no music 
that I have ever heard was sweeter than that which he 
would whistle sometimes of an evening, strumming the 
accompaniment on the guitar. The songs had a lightness 
and a cheer which Italian music lacks, and an enchant- 
ment which brought the dark, cool street, the pungent 
smell of the dust, the whispering girls, and the whole 
half-savage, half-civilised romance of the place before 
353 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

one, as though one were there oneself, leaning over the 
balcony and drinking it all in. 

He used to tell me, too, of the strange entertainments, 
where all the men gathered on one side of the room and 
all the women on the other, and where only two sorts 
of refreshments were served — brandy for the men and 
rosolio for the women — this latter, a concoction not 
unlike the peach or cherry brandy of our own country. 

Latin America has not changed and never will change. 
It was not so very long ago that an Englishman, landing 
somewhere in the neighbourhood of Lima, one evening, 
walked up the street, admiring the music of the bands and 
the wonderful sprightliness and cheer of the inhabitants, 
and cast his eyes up to the steeple of the Cathedral. 
Far up in the darkening blue he perceived two shapes sus- 
pended. Thinking it to be one of the queer semi-pagan, 
semi-religious customs to which Latins are supposed to be 
prone, he turned to the man who was carrying his bags, 
and, pointing up, asked him what it meant. " Oh, those," 
said the porter, " with respect, we had a little affair yester- 
day." "Yes?" said the Englishman, leaning back on 
his stick, " something to do with the Church, I suppose 
— some festival, eh? " " In a sense," replied the porter. 
"A little — how shall I say — pronunciamento ! Yes," 
as the Englishman started, " and those two are the late 
President and the Minister for War." 

At Christmas time, the city of Santiago devoted itself to 

a three days' Fair. From far and near the country people 

came trooping in, bringing their entire establishments 

with them. So great was the fear of the brigands that 

354 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

no one left anything, on the farms or in the houses, that 
could be stolen. They settled themselves down all along 
the Alameda, on which the Legation stood, and camped 
on the pavement, with their horses, their cows, calves, 
chickens, dogs, and cats by them — all in sheds, which 
were also used, in many cases, as booths for the sale of 
the horrible chicha, a ferociously raw wine, besides cakes 
and sweetmeats of brilliant colours and unknown in- 
gredients. Christmas, in those latitudes, is, as everyone 
knows, the mid-summer, and the memory of that one will 
remain with me for ever. I had to shut every window 
in the house, in spite of the suffocating heat, and, even 
so, the sounds and smells from the Alameda found their 
way in. When it is remembered that rain falls only In 
June and July and at no other time, our sufferings may 
be understood. 

It was interesting, though, when we could forget the 
heat, to watch the activities outside. In front of the 
drawing-room windows a dancing girl had spread a 
square of carpet, and all the young country dandies, in 
their huge hats, velvet clothes, high boots, and silver spurs 
— the rowels of the latter were seven or eight inches long 
and the boot heels so high that only the toe touched the 
ground — came up one after another to dance with her. 
All day long she whirled around, never ceasing. As 
one cavalier tired, another came up, and went on, but 
she never paused even for breath, that I could see. The 
last thing I saw as I looked out of the window, at night, 
was the girl, weaving her figures in and out, her scarf 
now held out behind her head, now sweeping the ground, 
35S 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

gleaming like a fire-fly in the smoky light of the 
lanterns. And the first thing that met my sight at half- 
past six the next morning was the same girl, still danc- 
ing, still smiling, still crying encouragement to the partner 
of her dance. 

And how they all drank! All the time, all night and 
all day, and at every moment of it. And when a man 
could do no more, he was laid on the mats behind the 
booths to sleep it off. On Christmas morning when I 
went to Mass, I had to pick my way over rows of them. 

At the end of the three days they had arrived at the 
point of refusing to leave. The municipality dispatched a 
corps of police to send them away, but the police were a 
joke to them. They were there in thousands, all, or nearly 
all, either hopelessly or hilariously drunk, and the police 
did not press the matter. At last, his patience exhausted, 
the Mayor brought out all the fire engines in town and, 
for once in a way, made them of some use. These he 
placed at both ends of the Alameda and then opened 
fire with the hose briskly. The rout was complete. The 
helpless were thrown upon carts, and the rest, cursing and 
drenched, pitched their possessions on the top of them, 
the cats and chickens over all, and in half an hour the 
place was clear. 

That was the only time I ever saw the celebration, 
for the cholera came afterwards and remained with us 
for two years, summer and winter, and the Fair was 
prohibited. 

I spoke of the young country dandies just now. Never 
did more gorgeous figures strut in any country in the 

356 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

world. The guaso (pronounced wasso) is a creature by 
himself. His clothes and saddlery are literally crusted in 
silver from the band of his hat to the huge spurs that 
ring like church bells as he walks. Our milkman, I re- 
member, affected the guaso's splendour and rode in fif- 
teen miles every morning, his cans tied on to his saddle, 
jingling like a carriage horse. He was a humourist, too. 
One morning I watched him ride into the court-yard, and, 
when a servant appeared, open a lid of a can, dive his 
hand in, and extract a fistful of butter — churned by 
the ride ! We drank very little fresh milk after that. 

The girls are the best things that South America pro- 
duces. They age quickly, to be sure, and, aging, lose 
their figures and complexions quickly. But while they 
are young, they are splendid. They have a freshness, 
a contagious enthusiasm, and an unspoilt sweetness that 
are not found in many places nowadays. Their educa- 
tion is always conventional and extremely simple. It is 
centred on two things, which, above all others, are deemed 
to be essential to a well-bred gentlewoman — embroidery 
and the making of sweetmeats. They are taught to 
read and write and are given a few other elementary 
scraps of knowledge besides, but those two are the really 
important things. Once they have left the convent behind 
them, reading is not encouraged and writing is confined 
to a few letters three or four times a year. One little 
girl I knew, who afterwards became a Sister of Charity, 
was very fond of reading — and, by reading, I mean of 
real reading — but, whenever her mother caught her with 
a book in her hand, she would take it away and tell her 
357 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

to go to the drawing-room and embroider with her 
sisters *' so as not to waste her time with useless things." 

When a girl becomes engaged — they are as free, by 
the way, in their choice, as our own — she embroiders the 
covering for her entire drawing-room furniture before 
she marries. One girl of my acquaintance even forbade 
her fiance to call in the morning at all, on that account. 
" I must not waste my time," she said, " I have important 
work to do! " 

These good habits are probably traceable to an over- 
seas civilisation, but there are others that are somewhat 
more obscure, unless one attributes them to the Indians. 
When, for instance, among the poorer classes, a baby 
dies, far from expressing any sorrow, the whole neigh- 
bourhood is called in to rejoice. " The child has gone 
to heaven," they say, "what is there to weep over?'* 
Then the Httle body is waked in a way that would make 
the Irish envious. A feast is prepared. Gay songs are 
sung to cheer up the mother. Aguardiente flows — I 
need hardly have put that in — and everyone eats and 
drinks until they can hold no more. Afterwards — and 
here, I cannot help thinking, the savage peeps out — the 
poor little thing is dressed up, its face is painted — 
painted! — and it is borne round by two of the women to 
visit the neighbourhood. It is considered a great honour, 
too, and a bringer of luck. It is an " Angelino," — a 
little angel. Of course, no baby is ever christened 
Angelica, and the only exception that I can remember 
was one so hopelessly crippled at birth that the suggestion 
was thus politely laid before Providence to remove it. 
358 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

Providence, however, had other views, and It lived. I 
shall never forget my first sight of one of these pro- 
cessions coming down the street. I cannot dwell upon it. 
Not until It came quite close, did I realise what it was- 
that the woman was carrying with such a happy smile 
on her face. 

Santiago Is rich In gruesome things, but the most terrify- 
ing that I ever saw there was when I was leaning out of 
the drawing-room window one night, just before I went to 
bed. It was late, and there was a bright moon that 
threw out the whole of the Alameda Into vivid relief. 
I had been absorbed In my thoughts for some time, try- 
ing to dream myself back Into Italy, and see, In the stucco 
palatios, the real palaces of Rome, — wondering what 
all the dear people there were doing — one has to snatch 
at the tricks of childhood sometimes In the ends of the 
earth, to help quiet the Heimweh — when, suddenly, 
from far up the street, I heard the howl of a wolf. There 
was no mistaking It. It was not a dog. No dog had 
ever lived that could Imitate It. Staring down In the 
direction from which It came, I saw the figure of a man 
lurch out of the trees Into the full light of the moon — 
a man, dressed in evening clothes — I could see the white 
shirt front clearly. On he came, staggering from side 
to side, and bumping his head crazily against the trees 
as though trying to break them down, — and not by 
accident, for I saw him, three or four times, lower his 
head and run at them. And all the time he howled — 
that awful howl of the wolf! 

The street was quite deserted, not even a policeman 
359 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

being in sight, and I had a full view of him as he passed 
beneath the window. His eyes were shut — his lips were 
drawn back in a grin that showed his teeth, and his mouth 
was wide open. I could not leave the window though 
my teeth were chattering like castanets and I was 
trembling all over. Down the street I watched him go, 
weaving from side to side in the moonlight and rushing 
head-on against the trees, howling, until at last he disap- 
peared in the distance. But the screeching came back 
to me for two or three minutes after he had vanished 
himself. 

What was it? The good God who made him only 
knows. He was not drunk, for no drunken man could 
have thrown himself at the trees in that fashion — and no 
sober man, either, that I have ever seen or heard of. 
The howl, at least, was not that of any human being, 
whatever the body might have been. It was that of a 
famished wolf and not anything else. Does that sound 
like superstition? Well, superstition it may be. But 
which is the worst offender, he who, having seen much 
and experienced many strange adventures, prefers to think 
all things possible in the creation of an omnipotent God, 
or he who fastens down that word " superstition " over 
the entrance to every avenue of knowledge that per- 
tains to the Twilight Kingdom? 

I am reminded of an article I read some time ago on 
the subject of miracles by a divine of one of the Free 
Churches, whose name I forget. Having set forth his 
belief in an Almighty and All-powerful Providence the 
writer set himself to the task of attempting to prove that 
360 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

miracles could not happen In our day — and this is how 
he went about it. Compelled by the incontrovertible evi- 
dence of the Gospels, he acknowledged that our Lord 
performed many in his time and that his followers per- 
formed many more. But, he went on to say, such things, 
then, were obviously needed to convert the heathen and 
give the Church a start. Leaving it to be understood 
that no such necessity existed nowadays, there being, pre- 
sumably, no more heathen to convert, he let fall the 
astounding observation that should an All-just, All- 
seeing, All-understanding God, in His infinite wisdom, 
do such a thing in our time — and fly in the face of the 
writer's personal opinions on the subject — He would 
cease (Cease ! the Eternal would cease, that was his word) 
to be a just God, thereby, of course, ceasing to be God 
at all ! Put into plainer words, the Almighty might con- 
tinue to sit on His throne as long as He behaved Himself 
in accordance with the reverend gentleman's idea of how a 
God should behave — but not a moment longer. And 
the writer was — will you believe it? — a Professor of 
Theology at a Nonconformist Seminary. 

It is a strange attitude of mind that acknowledges 
Omnipotence in one breath and sets rigid limits to it 
in the next. 

But, to go back to the man-wolf. One of our old 
Italian servants used to tell a fearful story — and she 
spoke of it as though it were of common knowledge. It 
was about a certain hunter who lived far out in the 
Campagna by himself, in a small stone house. One 
evening, just as he was preparing to go to bed, he heard 
361 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

some one knocking at the door and, opening it, saw a man 
and a woman of the better class standing outside. They 
were well-dressed, although the woman was dusty and 
tired, and they begged him to let them stay the night, 
the man saying that they had gone for a walk earlier in the 
day, taking some food with them, and intending to return 
to Rome in the evening. After eating, he had taken a 
little nap and, when he woke up, found that his wife had 
disappeared. She had wandered away to pick some 
flowers, from her own account, and had lost herself — 
a simple enough thing to do thereabouts. They were 
ready to pay handsomely, they said, for the night's lodg- 
ing, and he, glad enough to earn money so easily, let them 
in and, having given them something to eat and drink, 
led them upstairs and left them there. The next morn- 
ing, as he was leaving the house, the husband called 
out to him that he would be very glad to buy from 
him any game that he might get, and added that he 
was going back to bed again — for he was singularly 
sleepy. 

The man started off — cheerfully, as one may under- 
stand, and the other went back to bed where he slept 
until the early afternoon. On awakening, he saw that 
his wife was sitting by one of the windows, wrapped 
up in a shawl. She was cold, she said, and anxious to 
start for home again as soon as possible. He assured 
her that he would not keep her waiting for long, dressed 
himself, and went downstairs, leaving her by the window. 

Having refreshed himself, he sat down by the door, 
borrowing his host's pipe and tobacco, and waited for the 
362 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

latter's return. After some time had sped, he left the 
house and walked a little way in the direction which the 
hunter had taken in the morning, but he had not pro- 
ceeded far before he met him. The man was evidently 
labouring under some great excitement, and he also 
seemed to be very dizzy, for he staggered as he came up, 
and sat down abruptly. His game-bag was empty, but 
the other noticed a smear of blood on his coat, and think- 
ing him to have met with some accident, stooped down. 
But the hunter waved him back. He could not speak for 
a minute or two, and only after he had recovered himself 
somewhat he told his story. A mile or so from the 
house, he had sat down to rest and look about for the 
signs of any game. The day was very still and he had 
been listening and watching intently, when, without an 
instant's warning, a heavy body leaped on him from 
behind, threw him over, and held him in a pair of mighty 
jaws by the coat collar, face downward. So stunned was 
he with fright and astonishment that, at first, he lay still. 
But presently, as the teeth began to work upwards towards 
his neck he wriggled his head around and saw, a few inches 
away, the paw of an enormous wolf. Wolves there 
were, as he said, and wolves, but nothing like this one 
had he ever heard of. In proof of which he showed 
the barrel of his gun which had been slung on his back, 
bitten almost in two. His hands had been free and he 
had managed to get out his knife, hardly knowing what 
to do with it till his eyes fell once more on the great paw 
by his head. In desperation, he slashed at it, and the 
long, razor-edged blade went through bone and flesh; 
363 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

when, with a howl, the wolf jumped away from him and 
he fainted. 

How long he lay there he had no idea, but when he 
came to himself and got to his feet, the paw was beside 
him. So saying, he produced it — and it bore out his 
story, for it was larger than a man's hand. Together 
they returned to the house, where, after making sure 
that the hunter was none the worse for his experience, 
the visitor asked if he might look at the paw again. 
In the hasty glance he had had of it by the side of the 
road, he had not had time to satisfy his curiosity. Such 
a thing was not to be seen twice in a lifetime. The 
hunter agreed with him and put his hand into his leather 
game-bag — only to withdraw it with a scream, " Do not 
go near It! " he begged, as the other approached. " As 
you value your soul, do not touch it ! " 

But the visitor was made of sterner stuff and, despite 
his host's pleadings dived into the game-bag and brought 
out — a human hand! 

Dropping it on the floor, he sprang away, but his eyes 
were drawn back to the gruesome thing in spite of him, 
and he saw the glitter of a ring. There was something 
diabolically familiar about the hand. He looked again 
and closer. There was something familiar about the 
ring, too. He had seen it elsewhere and very lately. He 
left his host In the chair where he had collapsed, ran up- 
stairs and burst in on his wife. She was still sitting by 
the window and when she heard his voice she turned 
and looked at him. Her face was changed almost out 
of recognition and the hate of the other world was in her 
364 



SPANISH-AMERICAN WAYS, TRADITIONS 

eyes, but he seized the shawl she had wrapped around her, 
though she bit and struggled. At last he tore it off and 
a glance showed him the rough bandages over one arm 
where the hand should have been. It was her hand 
that he had taken out of the game-bag I The end of 
the story (which I can only tell as it was told to me) is 
that the woman was burnt as a witch. 



365 



XVI 

"BATTLE, MURDER, AND SUDDEN DEATH!" 

The Curse of the Latins — Mademoiselle Jaures and the Broken Crucifix — 
Santa Maria Desecrates the Cemeteries — A Clandestine Funeral — Chilean 
Heroines — The Tram-car Riot — A Resolute Mob — A Massacre of 
the Innocents — Stolen Bullion — The President in Hiding — The Chil- 
dren' s Game and the Tyrant's End. 

CHILE had not recovered entirely from the effects of 
the war when we were there. Successful though she 
had been, it had put her back badly. The country out- 
side the cities was infested by brigands of all sorts, and 
we never took a drive without carrying pistols with us 
in the carriage — huge affairs that I used to be horribly 
afraid of. I never could quite assure myself that 
they would not go off by accident and blow somebody 
into pieces. There were brigands inside the cities, too, 
both in uniform and out of it, but they had, unwillingly 
I am sure, to draw the line somewhere — in our time at 
least — just outside the Legation. 

Though not so prosperous as in former years, Chile 
was better off than either of her two opponents, for their 
paper money had depreciated to about two cents on the 
dollar. As some Peruvian friends of mine told me quite 
solemnly, " Before the war, our servants used to go 
to the market with a handkerchief for the money and a 
366 



11 



"BATTLE, MURDER, SUDDEN DEATH!" 

basket for the provisions. Now, they take the handker- 
chief for the provisions and the basket for the money! " 

Inevitably, too, the world-wide curse of the Latins — 
that madness which takes them, as light-headedness takes 
a fever patient — whenever they are worn out by war 
or pestilence, the thing politely known as Liberalism, 
had them In its grip. The nature of that affliction needs 
no explaining to Catholics, who, high and low, rich and 
poor, contend with it daily in every quarter of the earth; 
but, for the information of those of other Communions, 
who are real believers In the Divinity of Christ and the 
Gospel of Human Liberty, I will try to make its meaning 
clear. 

In the first place. It has no more to do with any sort 
of Liberality, political or personal, than with the gates 
of Heaven. Its best and most enthusiastic exponents 
have always been the French Republican Governments, 
who, lately, have outdone themselves. Not content with 
robbing the Church of Its own private property, and 
putting the profits into their own personal pockets, not 
satisfied with turning defenceless monks and nuns out of 
houses which their Orders had built with their own money, 
and with stealing their pitiful little personal possessions; 
not shaming to use soldiers — save the mark! — to 
hustle these poor women out of their own doors by the 
shoulders and In many cases with the butts of their rlHes 
(think of it, you placid, self-contented, " broad minded " 
Christians of England and the United States, who pro- 
fess once a week, and with such pious unction, to be 
the true followers of the Christ whose servants these 
367 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

good and holy women undoubtedly were ; you who could 
find it in what you call your consciences, idly to watch 
their pain, never once lifting voice or finger in protest!) ; 
not content, I say, with all this, they proceeded, openly 
and in the Legislature of their country, to glorify them- 
selves and their deeds, for all the world to hear. 

" We have turned Christ out of the schools, the Army 
and the Navy! " cried their leader. " Now we will turn 
Him out of the country, too ! " 

Good Friday, the anniversary of the Redemption, was 
selected as the most propitious day for the destruction 
of the wayside Crucifixes which had offered rest to the 
weary and consolation to the sorrowful of former 
generations. How pitiful is Mademoiselle Jaures' ac- 
count of her finding the image of the suffering Saviour 
broken by hammer blows and flung down to be trampled 
upon; of the irresistible impulse which made her rever- 
ently lay the fragments together, while her girl friend 
looked scornfully on; and of the pang at her heart when 
this same friend, a well-educated young French lady, 
came and kicked the desecrated symbol to pieces again, 
laughing as she did so ! 

Doubtless the Divine Mercy which led Mademoiselle 
Jaures to embrace the Carmelite life of penance and 
prayer, in atonement for her father's sins, has inspired 
other generous souls with a like resolve, at sight of the 
same sacrilege; but what retribution has Divine Justice 
in store for the nations that submit to these outrages, for 
the rulers who perpetrate them and of whom the great 
Dom Gueranger said so truly, " The Jew servants of 
368 



"BATTLE, MURDER, SUDDEN DEATH!" 

Pilate once raised the Cross; now they are employed in 
tearing it down! " 

And, with the Cross, the whole social fabric. This 
cannot stand without that. When the scum of Rome, 
hounded on by its " progressive " Mayor, Nathan the 
son of Mazzini, howled and leapt round the bonfires 
lighted under the windows of the Vatican a little while 
ago, the yells of " Death to Christ ! Death to the Pope ! " 
found their necessary complement in the cry, " Death to 
the King ! " 

When Authority struck at the Crucifix it dealt its own 
death-blow for all but its own master's work — Evil. 
Its waning energies are concentrated on that, for the 
present. The name of God, so mighty that under the 
Mosaic Law only the Priests and Levites were privi- 
leged to pronounce it, may not be spoken in the schools 
lest some child should come to believe in Him.^ The 
civilised, progressive rulers sent their emissaries all 
over the country solely to corrupt the minds of 
the little children. They forbade officers or soldiers to 
go to Church — and only a few of the former were 
found, in that army which was once the glory and the 
wonder of its age, men enough to resist the infamy and 
stand by their God, their conscience, and their traditions. 
Some did — all honour to them ! — but they were only a 
remnant. 

That is Free Liberalism. It Is a hate of all that is 
good, and a worship, for Its own sake, of all that Is evil. 

1 In the spelling-book lists the names " Adam " and " Eve " have been re- 
placed by " Albert " and " Emilie " — the Liberals have lost the sense of 
humour with their other qualifications for salvation! 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

It is the child of Freemasonry, against which the Vicar 
of Christ warned the Faithful, hundreds of years ago. 
Let the Freemasons of England and America say what 
they will, it is one body all over the world. That the 
" personnel " of the former is infinitely higher than that 
of the latter, is an incident; it does not affect the fact. 
That many English and American Freemasons are good 
and upright men, I am ready to confess — and gladly, 
since those very qualities will bring them out of the 
Army of the Beast, when once they catch a sight of their 
Commander's real face. As things are, whether con- 
sciously or unconsciously, they gather under the same 
banner and we must not be blamed if we see in them the 
same enemy. 

Chile, as I have said, was in their hands. The Presi- 
dent, Santa Maria, was a virulent one and he put out 
his whole strength. Not that his whole strength was 
much, pitted against such an adversary, but he contrived 
to make good Christians uncomfortable and unhappy, 
which was something, from his point of view. 

For one thing, he had a law passed, ordering that 
everyone, atheist, murderer, or suicide, should be burled 
in consecrated ground. That this was the merest spite, 
nobody pretended to disbelieve, nor was the motive disa- 
vowed. But the Chilenos were not sufficiently " edu- 
cated " to allow themselves to be trampled upon in that 
fashion, though Santa Maria used every method that 
came to his hand to compel obedience — and those who 
have never seen the interior of a South American prison 
can hardly appreciate what that means. 
370 



"BATTLE, MURDER, SUDDEN DEATH!" 

It was at about this time that two young acquaintances 
of ours lost their father. The good man had laid It upon 
them with his dying breath to bury him decently, and 
they would have undergone any punishment rather than 
fail him. After much thought they hit upon an ex- 
pedient, and, the perfunctory coroner's Inquest over, toolc 
the body up into the attic and locked it in. The coffin, 
which was awaiting him downstairs, they filled with stone 
and brick, and this, the same evening, was solemnly borne 
to the cemetery and interred. When that was over 
and they were back In their house again, they dressed 
their beloved father's body in ordinary clothes, and 
waited for the dark. Under the cover of night they 
got out their own carriage — a covered one — smug- 
gled the corpse Inside, and placed it sitting up in one 
corner. One sat beside It, the other drove, and when 
they reached the gates and were Interrogated by the 
Guard as to where they were going, the former replied 
that he was taking back to his home a friend who 
had been staying with him. They were let through 
and, after a long drive, arrived at their destination, 
a Convent of, I think, Benedictines, where the body 
was brought out and properly buried by the light of the 
moon. 

To the women, however, belongs the honour of hav- 
ing shown the Liberals the barrier beyond which they 
dared not pass. A certain measure was about to become 
law, and compliance with it would entail absolute excom- 
munication. The Liberals had never gone to quite such 
lengths before, but, sure of their power — having care- 
371 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

fully revised the suffrage to insure its continuance — 
they began their attack in real earnest. Now the women 
of Chile are not only housekeeping, home-loving 
creatures, but they are also full of courage and self- 
respect; their Religion Is everything to them, and they 
have an influence over their men which absolves them 
for ever from the tedious necessity of actually voting 
themselves. 

The Liberals, rejoicing in their strength, rushed on, 
and, perceiving no immediate resistance, framed the new 
law so as to make it impossible for any one to obey it 
and remain within the pale of the Church. Then the 
women rose up. Some twenty or thirty of them met 
together — all wives of prominent men, and some of 
members of the Government itself. " This is enough," 
they said. " If the men have gone mad, it is for us to 
cure them ! " 

They settled their plan of campaign in a very short 
time, and that evening, when supper was over, each one 
handed in her ultimatum. 

" If you do this thing," they said, " you are excommu- 
nicate. Very well, that is your own affair. But the 
Church does not compel us to live with excommunicates. 
We shall take our children and leave you. We can all 
earn our own livings. If it comes to that, and every one 
of us would rather starve and watch her children starve 
than soil her soul and imperil theirs — now choose ! " 

They would have done it, too, and the men knew it. 
The law was not passed. Never was a surrender more 
swift or more complete. 



4 



"BATTLE, MURDER, SUDDEN DEATH!" 

Some evil genius must have inspired Balmaceda. 
Nothing that he did, but turned to hurt for him. Not 
a sling did he cast at his enemies but proved a boomer- 
ang. That the man was weak and vain does not alto- 
gether account for the procession of misfortunes that 
overtook him. 

Just after he was elected a local storm burst in Santi- 
ago and showed his nature up very well. 

The tram-cars in the city were private property, and 
the tram-car Company, like its brethren farther north, 
had got into the habit of thinking that the streets were 
their own private property, too. The fares on these 
cars had been established at two and a half cents, but 
the Company — thinking the public helpless to resist — 
put them up, without warning, to three. The people 
promptly made a public demonstration, and went to Inter- 
view Balmaceda on the subject. 

He promised — swore — that all should be put straight 
at once. But they did not trust him any too completely, 
and announced, to stiffen his back, that if the fares were 
not lowered, in a week there would not be a rail down 
in Santiago. Again he promised, and they dispersed 
after reiterating their threat. 

Three days went by and nothing happened. The 
fares remained at three cents and the Company was much 
amused. On the fourth day, the citizens, somewhat 
indignant by now, gathered again and set out to pay 
Balmaceda another visit. This time, however, he had 
had word of their intention and they spent several hours 
in tracing him before they ran him down at his mother's 
373 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

house where he had hidden himself. They haled him 
out into the patio and reminded him that time was 
flying and their patience with it. Balmaceda, in tears, 
implored them to calm their indignation for a day or two 
and to trust him to see that they got their rights — he 
was even then, he assured them, arranging matters with 
the Company. " Very well," they said, " this is the middle 
of the week. You have until Sunday, Senor Presidente. 
After that we will settle the matter ourselves — in the 
way that we spoke of ! " 

Saturday went by, but there was no sign of any change 
of heart on the part of the Company, the directors of 
which seemed, from the few glances obtained of them, 
to be enjoying the situation very much, and Santiago went 
quietly to bed. 

Towards noon on Sunday, the Alameda began to fill 
with men — there were hardly any women at first, though 
plenty came out afterwards when the fun began. Each 
man carried in his hand a bottle of petroleum and a 
number were armed with crowbars. Within an hour the 
street was packed. There was not much talking; but 
at a given signal the first of a line of cars, that were 
approaching at a foot's pace to avoid crushing some one 
in the mass of humanity that covered the street, was 
held up. I watched the whole thing from my window 
The proceedings were perfectly orderly. The horses 
were taken out, and led down a side street, the passen- 
gers politely requested to descend, the driver and con- 
ductor lifted down and passed along from hand to hand 
until they were well out of the way. That done, the 
374 



"BATTLE, MURDER, SUDDEN DEATH!" 

bottles were produced and poured liberally over the car, 
which was then set alight amidst the cheers of the by- 
standers. The remainder of the six cars that waited 
behind were similarly treated. The flames shot up and 
new cheers shot up with them, while the crowd, now 
thoroughly roused to its duty, set to work to tear up the 
rails. Those in the Alameda were soon up and piled, 
women and children joining in, and the " aperitif " dis- 
posed of, the mob — for it had grown into those pro- 
portions — set about the real business for which it had 
assembled. It wrecked the barns, burnt more cars, 
smashed the doors and windows of the directors' houses, 
and, long before night had every line in the city hope- 
lessly crippled. Filled with a comfortable sense of duty 
done and having still a little time on their hands, the 
people attempted to put a finishing touch on the morn- 
ing's work by dragging out Balmaceda and telling him 
what they thought of him. But the President had anti- 
cipated that and had left home as soon as he heard of 
the crowd on the Alameda, so they were obliged, re- 
luctantly, to disperse. 

It was a real festa for the whole town. There was 
no fighting, no one was injured, not a horse was hurt. 
Needless to say, there was no further argument over 
the subject, and, after the rails were relaid, the fares 
went back to their old price, where, I imagine, they have 
remained to this day. 

Like most weak and vain men, Balmaceda was, as 
has been seen, easily frightened, and that failing, grafted 
on to the others, produced its natural fruit of cruelty. 
375 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

It may be said with truth, that it was he who began 
Civil War in Chile, and he had to go to some considerable 
pains to do it, for the Chilean is not, by nature, a quarrel- 
some person, and will bear with much rather than appeal 
to lead and steel. He even endured Errazuriz and Santa 
Maria without bloodshed. Of course the Liberals helped, 
as always. Balmaceda, bad as he was, had not the 
strength to be wicked enough to suit them, and when, 
impelled by the vanity which was himself, he proposed 
to name his successor, Santafues, instead of telling him 
quietly not to be silly, they made an open fuss. Balma- 
ceda retorted, a la Charles I, by proroguing Parliament, 
whereupon a Committee of the two Houses, as it called 
itself, " summoned the people to rise." Balmaceda in- 
creased the pay of the army and navy, proclaimed mar- 
tial law, and smothered the Press. This latter would 
have been perhaps a laudable and entirely praiseworthy 
act in itself or from any other motive, but he had chosen 
the wrong moment. 

I cannot help saying, here, that I have never been able 
to understand why interference with the Press should 
always be the breaking point of a people's self-restraint. 
It is queer when you come to think of it, because it has 
nothing to do with the people. Its opinions are not 
those of the mass of the public. It is not sufficiently well- 
informed about any single thing in the whole world to 
be able to define it clearly, yet it never ceases to deafen 
our ears with the cry that its mission is one of educa- 
tion. It is founded on, managed for, nothing in the 
world but personal gain. And yet with all this a matter 
376 



"BATTLE, MURDER, SUDDEN DEATH!" 

of common knowledge, the myth is still with us, and the 
worst accusation — in the eyes of the world — that can 
be levelled at a government is that it seeks to " muzzle 
the Press." 

Balmaceda's was the weakness which breeds cruelty. 
The reasonable sternness of the Northern man at arms 
always seeks to confine the pain of war to himself and 
his adversary, and he far prefers to suffer himself than 
to inflict suffering on helpless non-combatants. Smaller 
peoples seem, rather, to enjoy the sight of the hard- 
ships and injuries which they bring on the unwilling 
spectators. It gives them a sense of power, I suppose, 
and importance, thus affording an outlet to the mean man's 
natural tastes. 

Balmaceda could have held his own had he been willing 
to fight for it. He had 30,000 men, all the money in the 
Treasury, and, at first, the support of all the cities; but, 
though ready enough to create war, he could not bring 
himself to face his own creation when it materialised. 
One is reminded of Macaulay's lines, 

". . . shame on those cruel eyes 
That bore to look on torture and dare not look on War! " 

They are applicable, too, for he had no objection to 
shedding blood at all, so long as he was not called upon 
to take any personal risk in the shedding of it. 

In the early days of the rising, a demonstration was 
made by some innocuous sympathisers with the revolu- 
tionaries, who were reported to be approaching, victori- 
ously, to a point a few miles to the north of Santiago. 
377 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

It was an affair of flags and music, silly songs and sillier 
speeches. It was hardly an affair for the police. Some 
forty boys of good families, all eager for novelty and 
full of the cheerful unwisdom of youth, determined to 
go forth and welcome the " liberators." The eldest was 
not, probably, more than eighteen, the youngest, four- 
teen, and, of course, they had to have some part in any 
protest against constituted authority. 

But Balmaceda saw, instantly, what appeared to be 
an opportunity of asserting himself and showing the 
country what a terribly stern person it had for its Chief 
Executive, and at the same time, of cowing the spirit of 
the nightmare which was only biding its time to descend 
upon the capital. 

He sent after them, and they, elated by such unhoped- 
for luck, were brought back and locked up. 

It was generally understood that they would be re- 
leased in the morning and everyone agreed that a night's 
incarceration would do them no harm, even though it 
seemed to be paying them a somewhat distinguished 
compliment. 

Conceive of the feelings of that peacefully inclined, 
easy-going city, when, late on the next afternoon, it 
heard that they had been lined up against a wall and 
shot without trial ! 

That was the beginning of the end, for many influen- 
tial people who, until then, had preferred to continue 
under the devil they knew rather than take any 
chances with the problematical devil of the " Comicion," 
were filled, to the exclusion of any question of the 
378 



"BATTLE, MURDER, SUDDEN DEATH!" 

public weal, with the single desire to kill Balmaceda 
slowly. 

After the battle of Placilla, where the Government 
forces were ignominiously routed, the whole of Santiago 
became a hive of revolution, and Balmaceda saw that 
the hour had arrived to say good-bye to his ungrateful 
country, before it had an opportunity of choosing his 
exit for him. 

He had already collected the remains of the public 
funds in the Treasury, and now, under the cover of 
night, betook himself to the British Representative who, 
very unwisely, consented to the President's request. 
Balmaceda saw that it was hopeless to attempt to 
get on board a British ship, himself, as had been his 
intention, but, assuring his English friend that the gold 
was his own private property, he begged him to have 
it placed in the keeping of a British captain and carried 
Into safety. One cannot but think that the gentleman 
must have been, for a trained servant of the Queen's, 
of a curiously confiding and trustful disposition, for, 
although he must have known the personal character of 
the man with whom he was dealing, he took his simple 
word for it, and authorised the British officer to take 
charge of the bullion and steam away with it. 

Assured of the safety of his spoils, Balmaceda made 
for the Argentine Legation and threw himself upon the 
charity of my old friend, Madame Uriburu, who took him 
in. Both she and her husband knew that if he were seen 
in the streets he would be torn in pieces, and their charity 
overcame their official scruples. 
379 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

They hid him in two little rooms, leading off a remote 
staircase, and, in the night, brought up food and drink 
for him. This went on for some weeks, while the whole 
of Santiago was searching for him, high and low. 

The man must have gone nearly mad with the strain. 
His naturally nervous temperament, working with the 
solitude, the never absent fear of capture, and the mem- 
ory of the blood he had shed so uselessly and so wan- 
tonly, could not but have come to a tension where the 
slightest shock would break down his self-control. 

One day, two of the Uriburu children were playing on 
the staircase, bouncing a ball up and down the steps. 
They were close to a landing, on the opposite side of 
which was a door. As children will, they began to throw 
the ball at it, enjoying the scramble. Gently they threw 
it at first, then, by degrees, harder and harder, until, 
suddenly, from the inside, came the report of a pistol, 
followed by the thud of a body on the floor, and they, 
terrified, fled shrieking to their mother. 

Balmaceda in his half-demented state, had thought 
the impact of the ball against the door and the voices 
of the children to be the forerunners of the mob, and had 
shot himself rather than face them. 

With him, the Civil War came to an end and it was not 
long before Liberalism came to lose its attractions. 



380 



XVII 

A WATERING PLACE IN THE ANDES 

A Trying Situation — Degenerate Spanish — "No Doctors or Lawyers!" 
The Mystical " Manto " — Pretty Prayer Carpets — A Startling Sight — 
The Parrot in Church — The Ways of Good Women — A Piously Con- 
ducted Pilgrimage — The Baths of Cauquenes — Conservative Grandees — 
White Acacias — A Lonely Bloom — The Dream-letter — Where Our 
Marching Orders Found Me — A Memory and a Farewell. 

SOME wise person once told me that in renting a 
house the great thing is to make one's selection in 
bad weather. This doubtful advantage was certainly 
ours when we chose our Santiago dwelling-place, chiefly 
attracted, I think, by the unusual feature of one or two 
chimneys which would allow of our putting in some 
heating stoves. This we at once did, in spite of the pro- 
tests of our friends, who solemnly assured us that warm- 
ing the house meant opening the door to the doctor — 
it would be the source of constant bad health to us and 
our servants ! 

We had made several friends already, although at 
first my difficulties with the language left most of the 
conversation to them. One day, indeed, a week or two 
after our arrival, my sitting-room at the hotel was sud- 
denly filled by quite a crowd of ladies, wives of officials, 
not one of whom could speak a word of French. I had 
been warned not to draw on my Italian for any Spanish, 
381 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

because of the similarity in sound and disastrous differ- 
ence in meaning of many words, so I was prudently 
dumb, and they entertained one another until help was 
sent me in the person of an amiable woman whose hus- 
band was in the Chilean diplomatic service. She had 
lived in Europe, and at once took on the office of inter- 
preter, to my great gratitude and relief. A few weeks 
later I needed no interpreter, having picked up enough 
to get along alone. I had no time to take lessons, but 
I read the daily papers, and provided myself with Spanish 
novels — an excellent way of learning a language in a 
hurry, because of the much dialogue and the thread of 
interest which makes one want to see what is in the next 
chapter. My husband also helped me a good deal by re- 
fusing to remember or read a word of Spanish as soon as 
he found out that I could talk for him and translate letters 
and such extracts from the papers as he wanted. Never- 
theless I always spoke it badly; the harsh gutturals and 
hissings offended my Italian ear; and whereas in Italian 
every letter is pronounced, in American Spanish half of 
them are suppressed, a caprice which throws many ob- 
stacles in the path of a beginner. 

The Spaniards look upon Chileno Spanish as a degen- 
erate dialect, and I remember that Madame Carcano, the 
Spanish wife of the Italian Minister, was never tired of 
ridiculing the local idioms, particularly the " Como 
no?" (How not?) which was as universal a form of 
assent as is the famous " You bet! " in my present home 
on the Pacific Slope. But they had some pretty phrases, 
" Vayase con Dios " (Go with God) and " Hasta la 
382 



A WATERING PLACE IN THE ANDES 

vista " (Till sight) for farewell. How much more there 
generally is in the farewell than in the greeting! My 
dear brother's favourite was such a friendly one, " Be 
good to yourself! " 

Madame Carcano was really my chief standby in the 
first weeks of my residence in Santiago, for she was able 
to warn me against the many mistakes that Europeans 
are apt to make on plunging into a Transatlantic society 
with a modern face — and customs and ways of thought 
that have changed but little since the colonisers were 
sent out from Spain hundreds of years ago. It seems 
that they were not very easy to get. Cortez, writing 
home on the subject, said, " Send me anything you like, 
only I will have no doctors and no lawyers! " It was, 
as the times went, a wise discrimination, for the doctors 
of the 1 6th century must have killed many more than 
they cured, and where there are no lawyers quarrels 
are usually short lived. But the two enlightened pro- 
fessions have had their revenge on Cortez, — every other 
door in Santiago hears on its brass plate the title of 
" Medico " or " Abogado." 

The first " bevue " from which Madame Carcano 
saved me was that of attempting to go to church in a 
bonnet. " You would be mobbed," she told me. " You 
must buy a manto at once, and I will show you how to 
put it on." 

I had imagined the manto to be something like the man- 
tilla of Spain, so becoming in its lacy softness, but no, 
it was a very large square of opaque black, heavy crepe 
de Chine for choice, of which one corner was wrapped 
2^ 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

over the head and the point drawn as tightly as possible 
round the throat; then the thing was deftly thrown over 
the shoulder so that the opposite corner very nearly 
touched the ground behind, exactly in the middle of the 
skirt; the folds were drawn close to the figure and finally 
fastened somewhere on the left shoulder with a brooch. 
It sounds like nothing earthly, but on a slight, graceful 
woman it was one of the prettiest coverings possible, 
besides being the most comfortable. Young faces looked 
very sweet with the black frame round rosy cheek and 
chin, and the little curls of fair or dark hair escaping 
over forehead and temples. The hands were quite free, 
when the manto was properly put on, and they usually 
carried a prayerbook and a mother-of-pearl rosary, while 
a gaily embroidered " alfombrita " (or prayer carpet) 
hung neatly folded over the left arm. 

The prayer carpet is as necessary a part of the outfit 
of a Chilean woman as of a good Mussulman, for there 
are only a few seats in even the most modern churches, 
and the congregation generally has to sit or kneel on the 
stone floor. Hence the use of the " alfombrita," a 
square of cloth, usually black, with quilted lining and 
border. The richness of the embroidery and the quality 
of the lining proclaim the status of the owner, and there 
is no article about which a Chilean woman is more par- 
ticular. Embroidery being one of her most admired 
accomplishments, it is lavished on the prayer carpet, the 
sombre background of which usually displays all the 
colours of the rainbow in its silken net of roses and 
forget-me-nots and jessamines, often picked out with 
384 



A WATERING PLACE IN THE ANDES 

gold and crystal beads which must make anything but 
a comfortable material to kneel upon. 

On entering the church the Seiiorita goes at once to 
her accustomed place which only an utter stranger would 
venture to usurp; the carpet is spread on the pavement 
at exactly the right angle; and then all colouring disap- 
pears as the black figure sinks down and hides it. The 
first time I went to Mass in Santiago, I gasped as I en- 
tered the Church, for a stranger or more mournful sight 
had never met my eyes. I was a little late, for Mass had 
begun, and the building, from one end to the other, was 
an unbroken sea of black — hundreds of women, all, of 
course, with their backs to me, kneeling shoulder to shoul- 
der, with deeply bowed heads, and not a single coun- 
tenance or a touch of colour visible anywhere. It was 
startling ! 

The very pious ones, and older women generally, draw 
the manto far over the forehead and cheeks so that noth- 
ing is seen of the face in profile and very little in the front 
view. The first missionaries taught that a woman's head 
should be entirely covered in church and that Our Lady 
set the example, as shown in her pictures, by wearing a 
voluminous head-veil. Madame Carcano told me that 
on her arrival she had trotted gaily into Church in her 
lace mantilla as she was accustomed to do at home, but 
she never did it again. The woman beside whom she 
found herself kneeling turned a shocked countenance 
towards her and said, " You might at least try to be 
decent when you come to church ! " 

One saw queer sights in church occasionally. I re- 
385 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

member one morning, on entering San Borja, seeing an 
old Indian woman who had just settled herself on the 
pavement with her most precious belongings laid out all 
around her. There were market baskets, bundles of 
clothing, bunches of herbs — it was a wonder that she 
could carry so much about her, but to all this was added a 
large cage containing a parrot which she had apparently- 
feared to leave at home. In a few minutes she opened 
the door of the cage, and the creature, a splendid fellow 
all in green and blue, walked out, climbed on her shoulder 
and settled down there to wait till she had finished her 
prayers. The two were evidently old friends and quite 
understood each other's ways. 

The lower classes in Chile are closely allied to the 
Indians and have very few of the foreign characteris- 
tics noticeable in their social superiors. These latter 
can scarcely be called Spanish; even their names — and 
those the best ones — are often Irish or German, and 
they are more proud of their Hibernian or Teuton an- 
cestors than of their Iberian ones. Indeed, there is still 
much hatred of Spain, and the resentment kindled by 
the bombardment of Valparaiso has not yet died down. 
One of my friends, a most gentle and pious woman, some- 
times spoke of the " tyrants " from whom Chile had been 
freed, and her eyes flashed very angrily when she did so. 
Like most of the other women, she was well posted on 
the past history and actual politics of her country, but 
everything outside of that was a closed book to her as 
to them. She could not understand my rather omnivorous 
taste in reading or my eagerness to hear what was going 
386 



A WATERING PLACE IN THE ANDES 

on in Europe. Her range of subjects was limited, being 
confined to local and religious ones, but she talked 
well, and so untiringly that it was she who really taught 
me Spanish, though to the end she used to go into fits 
of laughter at my Italian pronunciation, particularly of 
the " r; " clear and pure enough, in all conscience, in our 
Roman tongue, it could never approach the Spanish 
sound, which is like the screech of an alarm clock. 

Pastora was an old maid who, with her still older 

spinster sister, Paola, lived with a married brother and 
helped to bring up his many daughters. " Las chiquillas " 
(the small ones) ranged in age from nine to nineteen, 
but they were never all at home together, two being 
always "con las monjas " in the Convent School. As 
the younger ones began to grow up the bigger ones had 
to come back, the family's means being somewhat re- 
stricted; and coming back meant the cessation of all 
study except that of music, and the devotion of most of 
the day to embroidery, which the mothers insisted on as 
a serious occupation. A book even of travel or biography 
was considered " mundano " in the morning — the 
" Niiias " must employ that usefully! At the Convent, 
at the distribution of prizes, there was always a grand 
exhibition of embroidered cushions, divans, and chairs, 
the parents paying generously for mounting and uphol- 
stering If their daughter's work was considered worthy 
of it. The ambition of each girl Is to have all her draw- 
ing-room furniture embroidered by her own hand, and 
the result is often quite sumptuous and beautiful. With 
marriage all this comes to an end, as the Chilean lady 
387 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

is expected not only to superintend, but to assist her 
servants, and to take the chief care of her children upon 
herself, tasks sufficient to give her plenty of occupation, 
but so eagerly shared, as a rule, by sisters, cousins, or 
some confidential companion that they never become very 
burdensome. 

The status of domestic servants is not nearly so good 
as it is in Italy. The maids, in a well-regulated house- 
hold, never go out except to execute some small commis- 
sion — there must be no dawdling on the way, and only 
the elderly ones are trusted so far as this. In the house, 
with its two or three patios, they have great liberty, and 
seem to interchange jobs at will, much as our Japanese 
maids used to do. They are not well-trained, in our 
sense of the word, but very amiable and devoted, and I 
regretted having brought our expensive trio of English 
servants when I saw how well our colleagues got on with 
those they could find in the country. 

The English servants complained bitterly of the dull- 
ness of life in Santiago. They could not understand 
that we should be satisfied with It. There was a little 
place in the mountains near by where I sometimes went 
with my friend Pastora for the baths. The first time 
my maid Clara accompanied me; when next I was pre- 
paring for a fortnight at Cauquenes she entreated, with 
tears, to be left behind — another experience of such 
monotony would send her mad, she declared! 

I was fond of the strange spot, which had a certain 
beauty of Its own. Pastora and I, and as many of the 
" Ninas " as could be packed Into the flat-roofed Mex- 
388 



A WATERING PLACE IN THE ANDES 

ican " carruaje " would leave Santiago early In the morn- 
ing to drive for three or four hours, over roads knee- 
deep in dust, across the plain. Here and there the 
straggling walls of some big " Hacienda " enclosed an 
oasis of greenness, but for the most part the landscape 
was that of the desert, with some of the desert's beau- 
tiful brown and gold and amethyst tints veiling its heat- 
smitten distances as the day went on. Pastora and 
the girls talked Incessantly till a halt was called for lunch; 
when we started again I was feeling rather sleepy and 
was about to settle back into my corner when Pastora 
pulled out her rosary, and, looking round with a bright 
smile, said, " Now we are going to pray thick! " (Ahora 
vamos a rezar tupido.) Of course we all responded at 
once, and there was not another pause till my dear little 
friend had led us through the whole fifteen decades of 
the Rosary, the prayers punctuated every minute or two 
by some monstrous lurch of the carriage into holes or 
over boulders on the road. 

That ascended steadily for a long time and the sun was 
nearly setting when the driver suddenly turned into a 
ravine of the hills, full of trees and the sound of running 
water. It was heavenly, after the many hours of dusty 
travelling across the plain! We alighted at the foot of 
some steps and mounting them entered a wide space, sur- 
rounded by buildings on three sides and planted with 
acacia trees, just then in full bloom. The court was 
quite a garden, gay with the scarlet geraniums which grow 
to gigantic size In Chile, creeping up to the roofs of the 
mud cottages and often supplying the only note of fresh- 
389 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

ness and colour in the desolate landscape. Very soon we 
were installed in some bright, pretty rooms on an upper 
floor, opening on a balcony which ran the whole length 
of the building and where one could sit, looking down into 
the garden and listening to the lively hum of chatter from 
other apartments, mostly full at that time, as it was the 
approved season for the mineral baths. On descending 
to the table d'hote, Pastora and the girls found various 
relations and acquaintances, and I had the amusement 
of watching the arrival of a family from Santiago, who, 
according to old Chilean custom, brought all their own 
furniture, including cooking utensils and provisions; a 
tribe of servants accompanied them, and they took up 
their quarters in the chief wing of the hotel, where suites 
of rooms were left unfurnished to accommodate the con- 
servative grandees who maintained the respectable old 
traditions. It reminded me of our journeys in the north 
of China, when the servants moved all our paraphernalia 
every day, and, when they judged it necessary, re-papered 
the rooms of the inn or temple where we were to pass 
the night, so that all might be clean and inviting when 
we entered. 

My first visitor the next morning was an enterprising 
and highly picturesque Indian woman, who, I found, 
came every day to sell small hot rolls to the guests. They 
were most palatable when fresh, but, if kept, attained the 
consistency of marble in the course of twenty-four hours. 
I had, at Cauquenes, to fall in with Chilean hours for 
meals, and rather trying they were, especially the ten 
o'clock " almuerzo " with its huge plates of " casuela " 
390 



A WATERING PLACE IN THE ANDES 

patterned with saffron, and the inevitable " Bisteca " all 
but raw after Its slight bow to the fire. No wonder 
Cauquenes was a favourite resort ! Its waters had a fine 
power of subduing rheumatism ! 

One of my great pleasures up there was in the grove 
of acacia trees; their ivory white clusters hung close 
within reach and my room was always full of them. In 
the afternoons we walked a good deal, exploring the hill- 
paths, which, my companions told me, led to many a 
gold mine sealed up by the Indians when Cortez was 
roaming the country for the precious stuff — of which he 
died, for the outraged natives having got him into their 
power poured molten gold down his throat, with the 
taunt, " Gold thou didst desire — now of gold have thy 
fill! " The knowledge of the localities of these hidden 
mines are supposed by many to be still preserved among 
the Indians, and I remember embodying the idea in a 
novel I wrote many years ago, " The Looms of Time." 

If the hills held gold, they held very little else. The 
scant, burnt herbage could not soften the crumbling scoria 
underfoot, and except for a certain poetic vastness, there 
was not a single attractive feature in the view of the far- 
stretching plain. Other plains that I remembered — 
the Campagna and the great plain of northern China 
— set the imagination tingling with storied possibilities; 
but here nothing had happened and nothing worth re- 
membering would ever happen; the few Indians one 
met were stupid and smilingly happy, all devoutly wear- 
ing their rosaries round their necks, quite contented with 
this world as they found it, and sure, if they said their 
391 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

prayers and neither robbed nor murdered, of being per- 
fectly satisfied with the next. That they were Christians 
was rather surprising, for the country away from the 
towns is terribly undermanned with priests ; to meet the 
most crying needs, the chief landowners and employers 
of labour arrange for periodical missions on their 
haciendas once in two or three years. Then two or more 
Padres stay for a fortnight, preach twice a day, instruct 
the young ones, marry dozens of couples, and baptise all 
the children born since their last visit. When they leave, 
everything has been straightened up, spiritually, and every- 
body goes ahead in faith and patience till they can 
return. 

I spoke just now of the desolation of those barren 
hills, but in justice I must describe one flower that I 
found there which I have never seen anywhere else. It 
Is called the " chagual " (pronounce "chawal"), grows 
on the hottest, stoniest spots of the soil, and shoots up 
a single stalk, six feet in height, and for three or four 
feet of its length is covered with pale greenish-blue 
flowers, lily shaped and of the most waxen texture. The 
blossoms, of course, open first nearest the ground, while 
the last are still barely visible on the last point of the 
tapering spire high in air. The lower ones are quite 
large and at that stage the whole looks like a giant 
parasol, closed and fringed with turquoise-coloured 
lilies. The stalk is like that of a young sapling, and the 
chagual is a solitary, each bloom far away from any of 
its kind, so that one wonders how the seeds are conveyed 
to its chosen growing place. 
392 



A WATERING PLACE IN THE ANDES 

On our return journey from Cauquenes I persuaded the 
driver to cut one down for me to take home. The only 
way to transport the huge thing was to bind it on the 
roof of the carriage, a device which caused much amuse- 
ment in the street when I drove up to my own door in 
Santiago. We got it safely upstairs, and for the next 
few days all my time went in painting its portrait, both 
in the whole and in detail. As the intelligent reader has 
doubtless discovered, I scarcely know a botanical term, 
but one of the great delights of my leisure hours has been 
to paint flowers, not for decorative purposes, but to know 
them — every twist of stem and wilful curl of leaf — the 
flush and wane of colour, the treasure of the black or 
golden heart which to me was like an eye, telling many 
things that the ear could never receive. 

My second visit to Cauquenes was paid under rather 
melancholy circumstances. I had a dream — one of 
those which have nothing to do with the ordinary wild 
gyrations of the brain, dreams which we know to be non- 
sense almost before we have waked from them. This 
was in the nature of clairvoyance, and carried absolute 
conviction with it. I dreamt that I was holding in my 
hand a letter from my sister-in-law, Miss Eraser, in which 
she said that our eldest boy was very ill with bronchitis. 
She described how he had caught cold through putting on 
his jacket, which he had thrown down on the wet grass 
while he played cricket. She went on to say that of 
course he was having the best of care, but that she did 
not believe he would recover, and, in any case, felt that 
she had no responsibility in the matter. 
393 



REMINISCENCES OF A DIPLOMATIST'S WIFE 

I woke up, knowing that I had read a real letter and 
my state of mind may be Imagined. I told my husband 
about it and entreated him to cable for news, but of 
course he pooh-poohed the whole thing. Spend pounds 
and pounds on a cable because I, who was always worry- 
ing about the children, had had a bad dream! Who 
ever heard of such nonsense? 

Six weeks must go by before the letter itself could 
arrive. I had read it, as I well knew, as Fanny, over 
there in Bath, was writing it. I stood the suspense for 
a time, but at last I told my husband that it would be 
better for me to go away and see out the last fortnight 
by myself. His incredulity, and the little social round 
in Santiago, were more than I could bear. Hugh was 
very kind and let me go to Cauquenes, where, two weeks 
later, the letter reached me, almost word for word as 
I had already read it, including the final repudiation of 
responsibility. The only omission was that of my sister- 
in-law's disbelief in the boy's recovery. That fear was 
in her mind as she wrote, on the date of my dream, but 
consideration for us had led her to suppress the expression 
of it. 

I was standing In the same court-yard at Cauquenes, 
under the acacia blossoms, in the spring of 1888, when 
another letter came to me, from my husband in San- 
tiago, telling me that our marching orders had come 
— for Japan. It was a very welcome promotion for him, 
for he had looked forward with apprehension to a long 
course of South American Republics. It usually takes a 
diplomatist at that stage seven years to be recalled north 
394 



(2ic:> 



y 



IfD- 95 



A WATERING PLACE IN THE ANDES 

of the line If he has held a Mission below it. As I read his 
joyful letter my thoughts travelled back to a spring morn- 
ing in Vienna, when, leaning out of a window in the 
Hofburg, waiting for the appearance of the splendid 
Holy Thursday procession of the royalties accompany- 
ing the Blessed Sacrament, I had turned to my com- 
panion, Lord Tenterden, and asked him to send Hugh 
as Minister to Pekin, a post which my husband knew so 
well and desired for many good reasons. Lord Tenter- 
den had been one of Hugh's fags at Eton and had always 
been a good friend of ours, also a powerful one, as he 
filled for several years the post of Permanent Under 
Secretary at the F. O. 

" No," he said, " I shall not send Hugh to Pekin. 
I think you would like Japan better. That is where I 
mean you to go." And he smiled down at me, his kind, 
ugly face beaming with friendliness and the pleasant 
sense of being able to make other people happy. Now 
he had kept his word. From the little city on the arid 
plain at the foot of the Andes we were to go to the 
greenest, sweetest land on earth, the place which in after 
years became truly home to me, a home gladdened by 
much sunshine and destined, as all true homes are, I 
think, to be hallowed with tears. 

Mary Crawford Fraser. 



395 











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